Mario outside

Multiple long-term conditions

"I love London and the neighbourhood. I really enjoy living here."

Mario, age 51, Vauxhall

'From one to many' report

I came to London from Portugal in 2004 because I have a brother who had been living here for many years, so I came here to be close to my brother. I came to have a better life for my children, and also for me and my wife.

I played soccer for many years, 14 years in the Federation, semi-professional.

I had to leave football to work, to support my family. It didn’t give me enough money to pay the bills.

It's a passion. I love football. I would have liked to have been a coach but life didn't allow it.

My dream has always been to have my own family. I’ve been married for 30 years. I have wonderful children. I have a granddaughter now. I always had the dream of having my own family, and it is a family that I adore.

I am from Aveiro, in central Portugal, a very beautiful region by the sea, a very beautiful area. I worked in construction. I did everything, painting, tiling and so on.

I’ve known my wife since she was a little girl. We were neighbours. Now she helps me with everything, and at the weekend, she takes me out. We sometimes go to Portuguese centres, to the cafe. She has been a great companion, a great friend.

Mario in his football team
Mario in his football team
Mario and his family
Mario and his family

Very often, I’m short of breath because of my sarcoidosis, and I still take a lot of medication for that health problem.

I get tired a lot. If I have to go upstairs, I get tired.

Almost every day I have to take painkillers because it’s an unbearable pain to walk.

I would love doing exercise and the doctor even told me if I want to do something small, I could do it, but because of my constant pain, it makes it a bit impossible to follow-up. Also because of my diabetes, I’m careful with things with a lot of sugar, and I keep an eye on my diet.

When I was a child I had asthma and bronchitis. My next health problem was in 1998, in my early thirties, and it was a sarcoidosis problem in the lung.

Today, I have a problem with my lungs, my bones, my pancreas, diabetes.

I started taking cortisone as a treatment for my lungs after an operation in Portugal in 2002. I took this for eight years and it was after that my other problems started.

That was when I had my problems with my bones, the avascular necrosis of the head of the femur.

I am now waiting for an operation on both hips. I’m waiting for them to do the left side first then they’re going to do the right side.

Mario’s wife, Regina, on Mario’s health


We see Mario in pain all the time, and it’s really sad, because he’s not happy. Mario needs help dressing, bathing, shopping, cooking, and with shoes.

He can’t bend and he needs a lot of help. So sometimes in the morning he can’t get up from the bed and I give a hand as well.

So he depends on me and my daughter. He needs help a lot of the time.

Me and my treatment

I take my insulin with a kwikpen injection.

I take seven tablets a day, apart from my insulin, to help stabilise my diabetes. Still, from time to time, I have a treat.

I use an inhaler – to open up airways in my lungs l and take medication for hypertension and diabetes.

I’m also working on my diet.

For my hip operations I have had already a consultation about my post-surgery and what is being discussed is that my life will be made much easier.

It will mean the pain will go away or decrease in a way where I can at least walk more comfortably, and I will not limp, as I’m limping already over my right leg, and it will make my life easier.

In 2007 I had to give up work completely because of my health conditions.

It’s been emotionally distressing as I’ve always considered myself as a hard-working person.

I started to work when I was 12 or 13 years old and to stop the activity as a man makes me feel very, very bad about that. And financially too, it makes a huge impact on me. Emotionally as well.

I have fantastic kids, my wife is fantastic, and now I have my granddaughter who brought joy now that she came.

My family for me is everything. Without the family, I could not continue to live. It would be impossible.

What I think is that there's always someone worse off than me. I feel good because I have my family with me. I've never been a person to let myself be defeated. I've always been an optimist.

Mario and his daughter

'From one to many' report

Over 15 million people in the UK live with one long-term health condition and around three million have three or more. It is a complex and growing phenomenon which has a significant impact on people, their carers and communities.

By focusing on the lives of people with multiple long-term conditions in our report, rather than a set of individual conditions, we wanted to understand more about how we might be able to intervene early to prevent progression from one to many long-term conditions.

Read the report