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Medical aid flags rise in women’s chronic illness

Chronic diseases among female medical scheme members are increasing, according to Discovery Health, which noted an upward spiral from 24% in June 2017 to a startling 32.7% by July this year.

Dr Noluthando Nematswerani, chief clinical officer at Discovery Health, said the focus on women’s health should include screenings as well as the treatment and prevention of these illnesses, reports Daily Maverick.

The top five chronic illnesses among female members from 2018 to 2022 were:
essential hypertension (persistently high blood pressure); hypercholesterolaemia (persistently high cholesterol); asthma; hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid); and
type 2 diabetes mellitus.

The top five cancers among women were breast, colon and rectum, skin and thyroid cancer.

Women under 30 are 1.6 times more likely to have cancer than men in that age group, said Discovery, with 42% of severe illness claims for women being for cancer.

Screening vital

Most medical aids offer various screening and prevention benefits that are covered by the scheme’s risk cover and not the day-to-day benefits (medical savings account), and Discovery said if these screening tests are taken advantage of by members, it would prevent late diagnoses of chronic illnesses.

It recommended six of the top preventative health checks which girls and women should have: developmental assessments; blood sugar, blood pressure and cholesterol screenings; pap smears; mammograms; colonoscopy; bone density screening.

 

Daily Maverick article – Chronic illness among women is on the rise — have you had these screenings? (Open access)

 

See more from MedicalBrief archives:

 

Discovery launches fund to boost screening and preventative healthcare

 

Regular mammograms from 40, US experts now say

 

HPV test better than Pap smear at detecting precancerous changes

 

SA medical schemes: Claims plummet and a dangerous lack of cancer screening

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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