Chronic disease management

Chronic disease management

When you are diagnosed with a chronic disease, there is really no reason to panic. Unfortunately, many people hear the term and think it’s just a downhill spiral until the doctors can’t monitor it anymore. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Asthma is a chronic disease and there are elite athletes who compete with asthma. The term ‘chronic’ just means the disease has been present for more than six months.


At our clinic, we see a lot of asthma patients. It’s very common, along with sinus problems and hay fever, all over the eastern seaboard of New South Wales. This is due to the high population of dust mites and a large amount of pollen. The moist air of the coast swells up the pollen and the winds make it burst. It’s everywhere and it affects a lot of people. We’ve had asthmatic patients who moved to Canada and never had a problem with their sinuses or asthma ever again – but this is a pretty extreme treatment!


Our region has a significant number of older people so we also see a lot of blood-pressure problems and heart disease. Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and emphysema are also common, probably due to the fact that a lot of older people used to smoke. Cases of type 2 diabetes are also on the rise, not just in our area but right across Australia.

Managing the disease

Chronic disease management is the key to living with these conditions. There are many ways that the negative effects associated with these diseases can be managed. Our practice is part of the COPD Alliance that’s run through the John Hunter Hospital. We have a specialist come to our practice to help our patients with COPD, checking whether they are being managed properly and having regular spirometry.

Spirometry is a breathing test that assesses the condition of the lungs. This allows us to monitor patients to see if they are getting better or worse. We suggest a spirometry every year for COPD

patients so we can alter their medication so it’s most effective. We also give lifestyle hints such as when to sleep in the sitting position and making sure there’s air flowing around if they feel any difficulty breathing.

Medical advances

These days, there are a lot of good puffers on the market that wasn’t available 20 years ago. There’s also a huge range of medications available for both asthma and COPD that weren’t available just a few years ago. We have 70-year-old patients who say their asthma is much better controlled now than it was in the past, purely because we didn’t have the availability of treatments back then.

Here to help with chronic disease management

A lot of chronic disease management can be effectively overseen by the wonderful nurses in our practice. They assess diabetics who come in once a year to have their circulation checked. The nurses perform peripheral arterial Doppler studies to assist the circulation and aid in the management of diabetes. The treatment also involves checking weight and height and discussing the diet.

The key to chronic disease management is regular appointments. It allows our staff to keep an eye on the health of the patient and to supervise and manage medication and lifestyle choices. We like to see our chronic disease patients at least once a year but more frequently if possible.

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