Long term conditions are health conditions that last a year or longer, impact on a person's life, and may require ongoing care and support.
The definition does not relate to any one condition, care-group or age category. Around two million people, 40 per cent of the Scottish population, have at least one long term condition and one in four adults over 16 reports some form of long term illness, health problem or disability.
Long term conditions become more prevalent with age. According to Audit Scotland, the number of people aged 75 and over will rise by 60 per cent between 2004 and 2031. By the age of 65, nearly two-thirds of people will have developed a long term condition.
Older people are also more likely to have more than one long term condition: 27 per cent of people aged 75-84 have two or more. There is a predicted rise of 38 per cent in the number of people who will be over 85 in the population by 2016, and a 144 per cent rise in the over 85s by 2031.