Module 8 – 3 Chronic conditions

3  Chronic conditions

Refugees might be uninformed or not aware of therapeutic options available to them in Austria.

In addition, some of them might not know that they have a chronic condition or they know but the treatment was disrupted due to the war and flight situation.

The following sub-chapter is taken from MEM-TP (2016) EU training on health services for migrants and ethnic minorities

Coronary disease and stroke:

  • Higher prevalence of coronary disease have been reported for the South Asian and East African born populations
  • In the case of stroke, consistently higher mortality and incidence rates have been observed for migrants of west African origin


  • There is consensus that among people of African origin, hypertension is three-fold to four-fold more prevalent than the native European population (Modesti et al., 2014; Cappuccino et al., 2002)

Here, you can find a modified Framingham CHD and CVD risk calculator for British black and minority ethnic groups. []


In many parts of the EU the available data suggest that migrants may be more at risk of developing type 2 diabetes than non- migrants and also at greater risk of serious outcomes if and when they do develop the disease (Vozarova de Courten et al., 2003; Vandenheede et al., 2012).

Here, you can find a helpful resource regarding diabetes in refugees and other migrants. []


  • Migrants from non-western countries showed a more favorable all-cancer morbidity and mortality compared with native populations of European host countries. Migrants have 20–50% lower incidence and mortality rates
  • Migrants were more prone to cancers that are related to infections experienced in early life, such as liver, cervical and stomach cancer.
  • Almost all migrant groups, irrespective of sex, seem to be at high risk of liver cancer mortality, especially Bangladeshis and African-Caribbean (Arnold et al., 2010; Rechel et al., 2011).

Inherited diseases:

  • Sickle-cell anemia: The geographical specificity and hereditary nature of these diseases suggests that both are likely to be present in communities with large numbers of migrants from the Mediterranean Basin, the Caribbean and Africa
  • Thalassemia: Thalassemia, which is primarily a blood disease found in people in the Mediterranean region, is also being seen in the UK among migrants and ethnic minorities of Middle Eastern and Cypriot origin. There is increasing evidence that it is relatively common among migrants of Pakistani, Chinese and Bangladeshi origin

Other diseases and conditions:

Here you can find information and clinical guidelines on many diseases. []

If you are a member of the Austrian Society for General Practitioners (ÖGAM), then, you also have free access to the EBM guidelines for General Practice. []

In the following a helpful link to patient information on several diseases/issues is available in English, Arabic, German, Russian, Spanish and Turkish.  []

Further information:

Here you find the EU Joint Action on chronic diseases and promoting health ageing across the life-cycle. []

Here you find a Video on „Chronic Diseases: Everyone’s Business“ []