Western Cape Government Health Helps You Understand Your Condition Better
Chronic diseases, also known as Non-communicable diseases, may be inherited, but many lifestyle and environmental factors such as smoking, inappropriate diet, lack of exercise and heavy alcohol consumption are known to significantly increase risks. They can be prevented and controlled through lifestyle changes.
The major associated risk factors are high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, diabetes, and obesity.
Large numbers of patients present for management of chronic illnesses at public healthcare facilities daily. It has been estimated that 12% of people represent 50% of attendees at Primary Health Care facilities. They present with one of eight conditions, namely: hypertension (high blood pressure), diabetes mellitus, ischaemic heart disease follow-ups; chronic psychiatric illnesses, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), HIV and Aids, and Tuberculosis (TB).The medication dispensed to this group represents 80% of all issues at the pharmacies at these facilities.
There is a high and increasing prevalence of lifestyle-related chronic diseases in the Western Cape affecting a younger age range than previously. Out of the approximately 36 million people who died from chronic disease globally in 2008, nine million were under 60.
While people of all ages are affected by chronic illnesses, there is a higher risk of the elderly developing chronic diseases. Although most chronic illnesses are long-term and many cannot be cured, they can be prevented or controlled.
Some of the most common chronic illnesses are hypertension (high blood pressure), diabetes and heart disease.
Due to the lack of initial symptoms of many chronic diseases, and because patients do not have regular, voluntary health checks, many patients with chronic diseases seek help only once chronic diseases have reached an acute stage, or once the disease has long-term complications. Treating an illness once it has reached this stage is not only expensive but also denies people the benefits of taking care of their condition at an early stage or preventing further complications altogether.
To assist in early detection and prevention Western Cape Government Health will be providing health screening at the following community outreach programmes:
- A Family Active Day in conjunction with the Khayelitsha Development Forum on 24 November 2012.
- Gugulethu Shopping Centre Siyagyma Event on 8 December 2012.