Discovery Reports Chronic Disease Increase
A chronic disease is a long-lasting illness that, generally speaking, can never be cured.
We can, however, control these diseases through early detection, improved diet, exercise, medication and other therapies.
Between 2008 and 2015, one of the main reasons people joined medical aids, was because they had a chronic disease.
Discovery Medical Scheme has seen a 5% increase in these patients joining their medical aid.
Chronic Disease – Some of the Facts
- Chronic conditions are very costly.
- They are preventable.
- Obesity is a serious concern in all parts of the world among rich and poor, young and old.
- Diabetes is on the increase, as is arthritis, stroke, cancer, and heart disease.
- We find mental illness in every walk of life.
- Research shows that the costs of health care have steadily increased above consumer inflation in the past few years.
- Chronic conditions are more common in adults, but occasionally you will find certain chronic illnesses among teenagers as well.
- People used to think that chronic conditions were diseases affecting only the rich but in recent years it has been shown that it affects all races, cultures, and lifestyles.
- Often poor people cannot access to treatment, whether its because of the distance they stay from treatment centres, or because of a lack of financial means.
- You often find the poor and uneducated resist health-promoting behaviour.
- A few years ago, people in the know were saying that half of all adults had one or more chronic health condition.
- Seven out of ten causes of death are related to chronic illness.
- The top five chronic conditions causing the rising costs of health care are diabetes, heart disease, lung disease, cancer and mental health conditions.
Risk Factors for Chronic Conditions
- High blood pressure. This is largely due to the stress and anxiety felt by most people in the rushed life of today.
- Smoking. Even secondary smoking can affect others, causing lung disease and premature ageing.
- Lack of exercise. People are ”couch potatoes”. When they come home, whether from school or work, they want to sit down and relax in front of the television.
- Obesity is a serious problem not only affecting adults but many small children and teenagers as well.
- Poor nutrition is another factor playing a part as a result of lack of fruit, vegetables and a balanced diet. In addition, people are eating too many take-away meals.
- Over-consumption of alcohol. Binge-drinking and getting drunk regularly are common occurrences in our society.
- Too much sugar, too much salt, and too many take-aways, are messing up our blood pressure readings, our weight, our cholesterol levels, and our glucose counts.
The Results of the Rise in Chronic Conditions
- The cost of health care is rising at an alarming rate as a result of costly hospitalization and medication.
- We will consistently be paying a higher premium on our medical aid.
- Lost earnings due to prolonged absenteeism from work.
- Lost productivity.
- Premature ageing.
- Premature death.
- Crimes related to heavy drinking.
- The need for more nursing-home care.
Screening tests should be available at all public clinics and promote health in schools and in the workplace.
Not only is the increase in chronic diseases a concern in the world, but it’s a concern that our governments, our schools, our families, and each individual should share. Only then will we see the decrease in chronic disease that we need so urgently.