Definitions

DefinitionDescription
Acute medicationAcute medication is used to treat acute diseases, which are diseases characterised by rapid onset and a short duration. Examples of acute diseases include pneumonia, meningitis, smallpox or measles.
Acellular pertussisPertussis is more commonly known as whooping cough. The acellular pertussis vaccine is a combined diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis vaccine containing one or more antigens (a substance which induces a specific immune response) but no whole cells. This causes fewer adverse reactions than vaccines containing whole cells.
Addison’s diseaseThis is adrenocortical insufficiency usually as a result of idiopathic atrophy or the destruction of both adrenal glands by tuberculosis, an auto-immune process or any other disease.
AdenoidsAdenoids are also known as pharyngeal tonsils and are small lumps of tissue at the back of the throat, above the tonsils. They protect the body from harmful bacteria and viruses, particularly in babies and young children.
AdenoidectomySurgical removal of the adenoids for reasons such as difficulty breathing through the nose, chronic, recurring infections or earaches.
ADHDADHD is a condition most often diagnosed in childhood, particularly once school-going age is reached. The most distinctive features of ADHD are the child’s inattention to the surrounding environment, and hyperactivity and/or impulsivity.
AnaphylaxisA life-threatening type of allergic reaction which develops quickly, often in reaction to drugs, food or insect bites. Symptoms include hives, breathing difficulties, swelling of the face, eyes or tongue, and nausea or vomiting.
AppendicitisAppendicitis is caused by the inflammation of the appendix. It is a medical emergency and many cases require immediate removal of the inflamed appendix, either by laparotomy or laparoscopy.
ApisectomyThe surgical removal of a dental root apex.
AptitudeAbility to acquire a skill.
AsthmaAsthma is a lung disorder characterised by narrowing of the bronchial airways resulting from inflammation of the airway lining, which is characterised by reversible (in most cases) airway obstruction.
DefinitionDescription
Bacillus Calmette-GuérinA vaccine against tuberculosis (TB) prepared from a stain of weakened live bovine (cow) tuberculosis bacillus
Back treatment programmeA non-surgical intervention in lieu of surgery for the management of spinal column disease/conditions/ abnormalities. This new approach to the treatment of back and neck pain is used as an alternative to back surgery, and involves an interdisciplinary team handling the rehabilitation programme, which is individualised for each patient based on the patient’s needs and clinical diagnosis.
Benefit optionA medical plan which offers specific defined benefits in exchange for a monthly subscription fee.
Benign prostatic hyperplasiaAn increase in the size of the prostate, due to hyperplasia (an increase in the number of cells). Nodules form and press on the urethral canal and can obstruct the urethra, making urination difficult and painful.
Bipolar mood disorderAn affective disorder characterised by the occurrence of alternating periods of euphoria (mania) and depression.
Bone augmentationBone enlargement.
Breast augmentationBreast enlargement.
BrokerA person whose business, or part thereof, entails providing a service or advice in respect of the introduction of prospective members to Medihelp, and who has been accredited as a broker by the Council for Medical Schemes and contracted with Medihelp for rendering such services.
BronchiectasisThe chronic dilation of the bronchi or bronchioles as a sequel of inflammatory disease or obstruction.
BruxismTooth grinding.
DefinitionDescription
Calendar monthA period extending from the first to the last day of any one of the 12 months of the year.
Cardiac failureCardiac or heart failure (also called congestive heart failure) is the inability of the heart to supply sufficient blood flow to meet the needs of the body.
CardiomyopathyA primary disease of the heart muscle in the absence of a known underlying etiology.
CariesThe microbial destruction of tooth material.
ChlamydiaA specific group of bacteria.
Chronic medicineMedicine used for the long-term treatment (three months or longer) of a chronic condition, and which meets the following requirements:
  • It must be used to prevent or treat a serious medical condition;
  • It must be used for an uninterrupted period of three months or longer;
  • It must be used to sustain life, to delay the progress of a disease, and to repair natural physiology;
  • It must be registered in South Africa for the treatment of the medical condition for which it is prescribed;
  • It must be the accepted treatment according to local and international treatment protocols and algorithms.
MEDICHRON (Medihelp’s medicine management division) considers benefits for all chronic medicine.
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)A general term used for those diseases that permanently or temporarily narrow the small bronchi, resulting in forced expiratory flow becoming slowed, especially when no etiologic or other more specific term apply.
Chronic renal diseaseChronic disease of the kidneys.
Composition of subscriptionThis shows how your subscription is calculated.
Co-paymentsThese are the differences between the cover provided by Medihelp and the cost/tariff charged for the medical service, and are payable directly to the service provider. Members must make co-payments in the following cases:
  • When doctors and other providers of medical services charge fees which exceed Medihelp’s guideline tariff, the member is responsible to pay the difference between the amount charged and the amount which Medihelp pays;
  • When Medihelp’s benefit allocation is not 100% (e.g. for non-chronic medicine), or where the cost exceeds the limit available for the service (e.g. for medical, surgical and orthopaedic appliances);
  • When the member chooses not to obtain services from a designated service provider (e.g. the SAOC network in the case of oncology).
Coronary artery diseaseCoronary artery disease is caused by atherosclerosis (the development of fatty plaques on the inner walls of arteries) with eventual restriction of blood flow.
CosmeticTo beautify.
Crohn’s diseaseRegional enteritis or a chronic enteritis of unknown cause, involving the terminal ileum and less frequently other parts of the gastrointestinal tract.
DefinitionDescription
Day-to-day benefitsBenefits covering the everyday services offered by your general practitioner.
DBCA non-surgical back treatment intervention programme in lieu of surgery for the management of spinal column disease/conditions/abnormalities. This new approach to the treatment of back and neck pain is used as an alternative to back surgery, and involves an interdisciplinary team handling the rehabilitation programme, which is individualised for each patient based on the patient’s needs and clinical diagnosis.
Debit order request for deduction of arrears subscription feesA one-off debit order request to spare you the trouble of making online payments or visiting your bank.
DementiaThe term that is used to describe progressive brain dysfunction diseases and illnesses which result in a gradually increasing restriction of daily activities.
Dependant of a memberThe spouse or partner as well as the dependent children, father, mother, brothers, sisters and grandchildren of the member in respect of whom the member is liable for family care and support, and who is not a member or a dependant of a member of another medical scheme.
DentectomyThe surgical removal of all remaining teeth.
Designated service provider (DSP)Doctors and other healthcare practitioners which you must use when you need medical care. Using DSPs reduces costs, making basic day-to-day medical care available at affordable rates.
Diabetes insipidusChronic excretion of very large amounts of pale urine of low specific gravity, causing dehydration and extreme thirst. It ordinarily results from the inadequate output of the pituitary antidiuretic hormone.
Diabetes mellitusA disorder of carbohydrate metabolism in which sugars in the body are not oxidised to produce energy due to a lack of the pancreatic hormone insulin.
DiphtheriaUpper respiratory tract illness caused by Corynebacterium diptheriae (a bacteria), which causes swelling of the neck and makes breathing difficult. Other symptoms include fever and sore throat.
Down syndromeA condition resulting from a chromosomal defect and often associated with a measure of impairment of cognitive ability and physical growth, as well as a characteristic facial appearance. These characteristics can vary widely from child to child, and while some children with Down syndrome may need extensive medical attention, others lead healthy lives.
DysrhythmiaCardiac dysrhythmia (also known as arrhythmia) is a term for a variety of conditions in which there is abnormal electrical activity in the heart. The heart beat may be too fast or too slow, and may be regular or irregular.
DefinitionDescription
ElectrognatographyAn advanced diagnostic tool.
Emergency medical conditionAny sudden and unexpected onset of a health condition that requires immediate medical or surgical treatment, where failure to provide such treatment would result in serious impairment to bodily functions or serious dysfunction of a bodily organ or part, or would place the person’s life in serious jeopardy. An emergency medical condition must be certified as such by a medical practitioner. Emergencies qualify for PMB and must therefore also be registered for PMB.
Endometrial ablationA medical procedure which ablates (destroys) the endometrial lining of the uterus. It’s used to treat heavy bleeding and is only carried out if hormonal and other medical therapies have been unable to address the problem.
Endoscopic proceduresAn endoscopy is a procedure in which a doctor is able to look inside a human body with a device called an endoscope to examine organs and tissues.
EpilationThe removal of hair.
EpilepsyA neurological disorder or brain function disorder characterised by recurrent seizures that have a sudden onset. In different patients these may range from dramatic convulsive seizures, to "absence" seizures that take the form of brief lapses in awareness or "blanking out" during which the posture and balance are maintained. Treatment can control the epilepsy.
DefinitionDescription
FormularyA list of cost-effective medications which can be prescribed for the treatment of the 26 conditions on the Chronic Diseases List (CDL).
FluorosisA condition resulting from the excessive intake of fluoride.
FrenectomyThe surgical removal of a frenum or fold.
DefinitionDescription
Gap coverWhen healthcare practitioners charge in excess of medical aid rates, particularly during hospitalisation, there’s a shortfall between their fees and what your medical aid will cover. You can take out gap cover (insurance) to cover this shortfall.
GastroplastyThe surgical treatment of a defect of the stomach or lower oesophagus by using the stomach wall for reconstruction.
GingivectomyThe surgical removal of unsupported gum tissue.
GlaucomaGlaucoma is an eye disorder causing visual loss due to the abnormally high pressure inside the eye due to too much liquid (known as aqueous humour) in the eyeball, causing damage to the optic nerve at the back of the eye. This damage can lead to loss of peripheral vision, and eventually to blindness if left untreated.
DefinitionDescription
HaemophiliaAn inherited disorder of blood coagulation characterised by a permanent tendency to haemorrhages, whether spontaneous or traumatic, due to a defect in the blood coagulating mechanism.
Haemophilus influenzaHaemophilus influenzae type B (or Hib) is a bacterium which causes meningitis and pneumonia. Unlike the name suggests, it does not cause influenza.
Health-essential functional prosthesesThese necessarily replace a part of the body or a component thereof, or perform an essential function of the body.
HIV/AidsHIV stands for human immunodeficiency virus. HIV slowly weakens a person’s immune system, and therefore a person’s ability to fight off other diseases, by destroying CD4+T cells. HIV can lead to acquired immune deficiency syndrome (Aids), a group of serious sicknesses which can only occur when the immune system is very weak.
Hospice servicesA service rendered to patients who are terminally ill to make their last days as comfortable as possible.
HyperlipidaemiaHyperlipidaemia or elevated cholesterol is a condition which occurs when there are elevated levels of cholesterol (hypercholesterolaemia) and/or triglycerides (hypertriglyceridaemia) in the blood.
HypertensionHypertension or high blood pressure is the elevation of the arterial blood pressure above the normal range expected in a certain age group.
HypothyroidismThe subnormal activity or functioning of the thyroid gland.
HysterosalpinogramRadiography of the uterus and uterine tubes after an opaque fluid has been injected.
DefinitionDescription
ICD-10 codesThe codes in the International Classification of Diseases (ICD) list used for identifying a specific disease and diagnosis. Your attending doctor will be able to provide you with these codes.
Irritable bowel syndromeAlso referred to as IBS or spastic colon, it is a disorder characterised by abdominal pain, cramping and changes in bowel movements (diarrhoea or constipation). These symptoms range from mild to severe.
Item and procedural codesCodes used for identifying the medical services and procedures rendered to you. Your attending doctor will be able to provide you with these codes.
No definition
There are no definitions that starts with the letter 'J'
No definition
There are no definitions that starts with the letter 'K'
DefinitionDescription
Late-joiner penaltyIf you only join a medical aid late in life, you have to pay a late-joiner penalty. This premium penalty varies between 5% and 75% of the monthly premium and is payable for the duration of your membership. All medical aids impose late-joiner penalties, which may be carried over from one scheme to another.
LimitThe maximum benefit amount which is paid for a specific service, apparatus or appliance, for example in the case of prostheses.
Lingual orthodonticsA more cosmetic method of orthodontic treatment where the braces are not visible.
LipectomyThe surgical removal of fatty tissue.
DefinitionDescription
Major depressionMajor depressive disorder is characterised by one or more episodes of depressed mood or loss of interest, lasting at least two weeks and accompanied by at least four additional symptoms of depression. Individuals with a history of manic or hypomanic episodes may not be classified as suffering from major depressive disorder, but could instead be diagnosed with a bipolar disorder. Major depressive disorder may consist of a single episode or may recur at various points in life. The depression is not warranted by real circumstances or events in the individual’s life and is different from the normal sadness and grief resulting from personal loss or tragedy.
MammogramA diagnostic and screening tool which uses low-dose X-rays to examine breast tissue, in an attempt to detect breast cancer.
MammoplastySurgery to the breasts.
Medical scheme planA medical scheme offers plans or benefit options that allow members to obtain health services while the scheme assists them in defraying the expenses of such health services. Different plans are available to suit different income levels and needs.
MedicineA substance or mixture of substances which is accepted as being ethical by medical science and which is registered with the South African Medicines Control Council, to be administered or applied for the prevention, treatment or healing of an illness.
Membership certificateProof that you have been a member of Medihelp for a specific period.
Membership enquiriesEnquiries about monthly membership fees, debit orders, dependants, suspensions, certificates and benefit option changes.
Menopausal symptomsWomen may suffer from menopausal symptoms when the ovaries cease to produce an egg cell every four weeks, and menstruation ceases. Menopause can occur at any age, normally between the middle thirties and middle fifties, commonly between 45 and 55.
MMAP – Maximum Medical Aid PriceThe reference price used by Medihelp to determine benefits for non-chronic and chronic medicine. The MMAP is the average price of all the available generic equivalents for an ethical patented medicine item.
Multiple sclerosisA common demyelinating disorder of the central nervous system, causing patches of sclerosis (plaques) in the brain and spinal cord.
MyringotomyA surgical procedure in which a tiny incision is made in the eardrum to relieve pressure and aid the draining or fluid or pus from the middle ear. A tympanostomy tube is inserted into the middle ear to prevent the incision from closing and to facilitate drainage of fluid.
DefinitionDescription
Network providersHealthcare professionals, including general practitioners, dentists, optometrists and pharmacies, who have agreed to join Medihelp’s network and to deliver healthcare services to members of the network option at competitive rates.
DefinitionDescription
Obsessive-compulsive disorderObsessive-compulsive disorder is a type of anxiety disorder that affects both males and females of all ages and all ethnic groups
OedemaOedema, commonly known as dropsy, is the medical term for fluid retention. The build-up of fluid in the body causes swelling and can result in kidney or heart failure.
OestradiolThe most potent naturally occurring oestrogen.
Orthognatic surgeryJaw correction surgery.
Out-of-network providerA healthcare service provider who is not part of Medihelp’s designated service provider network.
DefinitionDescription
Panic disorderA person with panic disorder experiences brief episodes of intense fear accompanied by multiple physical symptoms such as heart palpitations, dizziness, nausea, tingling, and chest pains that occur repeatedly and unexpectedly in the absence of any external threat.
Parkinson’s diseaseA neurological syndrome usually resulting in deficiency of the neurotransmitter dopamine as the consequence of degenerative, vascular or inflammatory changes in the basal ganglia.
Pneumococcal conjugatedPneumococcal conjugate vaccine is a vaccine used to protect babies and young children against diseases, including pneumonia, caused by the pneumococcus bacterium (Streptococcus pneumonia).
PMBPrescribed Minimum Benefits.
PolioPoliomyelitis is a disease caused by infection with poliovirus. It affects the central nervous system and can lead to full or partial paralysis. Spinal polio is the most common form of the disease; it’s characterised by partial or full paralysis of the legs.
Pooled per familyBenefits available per beneficiary are combined and the total benefit is then available to any member of the family.
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)PTSD can result from experiencing or witnessing any number of traumatic incidents, including hijackings, domestic violence or violent attacks, road accidents, robberies and natural disasters.
Pre-authorisationBenefits for a service must be authorised before it is rendered. Services that must be pre-authorised include specialised radiology, private nursing and certain dental procedures. Members of the Necesse benefit option must also pre-authorise consultations at a specialist, physiotherapy and oncology.
Pre-registrationThis applies to hospital admissions, and means that hospital admissions must be registered in advance with Medihelp.
Preventative carePreventative healthcare consists of measures such as screening tests or vaccinations that aim to prevent illness, disease or injury and maintain a better standard of general health and therefore quality of life, ultimately minimising the risk of long-term health consequences.
Private nursingA service rendered to patients at their home instead of in hospital. These services typically exclude day-to-day services such as bathing and general care.
Procedural and diagnostic codesThe codes used for identifying the medical procedures to be performed on a patient and the diagnosis of his or her condition. Your attending doctor will be able to provide you with these codes.
ProductsMedihelp’s benefit options (medical plans).
ProlactinA protein hormone that stimulates milk secretion.
ProtocolsClinical guidelines compiled by experts in the field of a specific medical condition for the treatment of that condition based on best practice principles.
No definition
There are no definitions that starts with the letter 'Q'
DefinitionDescription
ReferralsThese are normally associated with network benefit options, such as the Necesse and Unify benefit options. Referrals are required when a general practitioner requires a patient to undergo radiology or pathology tests or to visit a specialist. The general practitioner will then supply you with a referral letter, which you must provide to Medihelp for approval.
Refractive surgerySurgery to the eyes, for example where the shape of the cornea is modified.
Relevant PMB codeThe code identifying your Prescribed Minimum Benefits (PMB) condition. Your doctor will be able to provide these code(s).
Rheumatoid arthritisRheumatoid arthritis is a chronic, systemic inflammatory disorder that may affect many tissues and organs, but principally attacks the synovial joints, which are freely movable joints, where the ends of the bone are covered with cartilage and connected by a ligament lined with synovial membranes which secrete synovial fluid.
RhinoplastySurgery to the nose.
RotavirusThe most common cause of severe gastroenteritis in children worldwide, rotavirus is transmitted via the faecal-oral route. Symptoms include vomiting, diarrhoea and fever. A vaccination for rotavirus is now available for children.
DefinitionDescription
SAOCThe South African Oncology Consortium, the professional affiliation of South African oncologists who determine the guidelines according to which patients receive cancer treatment.
Savings account reconciliationA statement indicating funds allocated to your savings account, and claims paid from it.
SchizophreniaA common type of psychosis, characterised by a disorder in perception, content of thought and thought processes (hallucinations and delusions), and extensive withdrawal of one’s interest from other people and the outside world.
Social anxiety disorderSocial anxiety disorder
Sub-acute facilitiesAlso known as step-down facilities, these facilities offer a service to patients who are healthy enough to be discharged from hospital, but still need professional care which cannot normally be rendered at home.
Subscription reconciliationA statement showing the subscriptions payable and amount paid for each month, with a balance.
Subscription statementA statement showing the amount of your subscriptions and any arrears due for a particular month.
Systemic lupus erythematosusAn inflammatory connective tissue disease with variable features including fever, weakness and fatigability, joint pains or arthritis resembling rheumatoid arthritis, diffuse erythematous skin lesions on the face, neck or upper extremities, lymphadenopathy, pleurisy or pericarditis, glomerular lesions, anaemia, hyperglobulinaemia and a positive LE cell test.
DefinitionDescription
Tax certificateThese certificates display the amount deductible from your income tax.
TetanusTetanus is caused by the Clostridium tetani bactium, which gains entry to the body through open wounds. It causes spasms in the body and jaw, eventually leading to lockjaw (the jaw locks). Death can result from breathing difficulties. A vaccination for tetanus is available.
TonsillectomySurgical removal of the palatine tonsils, at the back of the throat. Tonsils play a role in protecting the body against foreign pathogens.
Trauma careThese include benefits for trauma in the case of motor vehicle accidents, stab and gunshot wounds that require hospitalisation, as well as prophylaxis in the event of sexual assault, and benefits for head trauma, burns and near drowning.
To-take-out medicine (TTO)Means medicine to take out at the time of discharge from a hospital, which medicine directly pertains to the reason for the admission to the hospital and which is dispensed and charged by the hospital on prescription of the attending physician.
DefinitionDescription
Ulcerative colitisA chronic disease of unknown cause characterised by the ulceration of the colon and rectum.
UnderwritingThe process of evaluating and assessing applicants to determine the conditions under which membership will be granted to them.
UnifyUnify is a benefit option that makes use of the quality healthcare services of the Uitenhage and Despatch Independent Practitioners Association (UDIPA) and is therefore only available to residents of the Uitenhage, Despatch, Kirkwood and Port Elizabeth areas.
Update my contact detailsAn easy way of changing your contact and other details.
UvulopalatopharyngioplastySurgery to the uvula or the roof of the mouth.
DefinitionDescription
Vascular/cardiac prosthesesArtificial aortic valves, pacemakers and related or connected functional appliances.
VDRLA flocculation test for syphilis.
No definition
There are no definitions that starts with the letter 'W'
No definition
There are no definitions that starts with the letter 'X'
No definition
There are no definitions that starts with the letter 'Y'
No definition
There are no definitions that starts with the letter 'Z'

Click on the diagram to learn more about keeping your body healthy.

Head - how to keep it healthy

Brain

Brain
  • Eat a well-balanced diet, low in cholesterol and saturated fat
  • Eat foods rich in Vitamins E and C and anti-oxidants
  • Limit caffeine and alcohol intake
  • Quit smoking and don’t take drugs
  • Get moderate exercise, three times a week
  • Exercise your mind – read, play games like chess or bridge, learn a new language or hobby
  • Make head safety a priority in the workplace, when doing sports and when driving a car (wear a seatbelt).

Eyes

Eyes
  • Maintain a healthy weight to avoid diabetes and other conditions which can affect eye health
  • Eat foods rich in Vitamin A, C, E, beta-carotene, zinc and omega-3 essential fatty acids
  • Wear protective eyewear when working in industrial settings or playing sports
  • Wear sunglasses to protect your eyes from the sun
  • Clean contact lenses thoroughly
  • Wash your hands before touching your eyes
  • Get your eyes tested regularly.

Ears

Ears
  • Don’t insert foreign objects into the ear
  • Limit exposure to very loud noises
  • Quit smoking – cigarette smoke irritates the lining of the middle ear cavity
  • Avoid swimming and dirty water and use a swimming cap in communal pools
  • Get hearing exams regularly
  • Did you know that ringing in the ears is often a sign of a Vitamin B12 deficiency? As well as Vitamin B, make sure you eat foods rich in Vitamins A, C and E to promote healthy hearing.

Nose

Nose
  • Blow your nose softly, not with excessive force as this can drive infection into the ears
  • Refrain from wiping your noses with your hands – use a disposable tissue
  • Cover your nose when you sneeze to prevent infections spreading
  • Get plenty of Vitamin C and K, as well as potassium and iron in your diet to prevent nosebleeds
  • Quit smoking – cigarette smoke irritates the lining of the nostrils.

Mouth and Throat

Mouth and Throat
  • Brush your teeth two to three times a day
  • Floss daily
  • Gargle with salt water to reduce harmful bacteria
  • Go to the dentist regularly for a check-up
  • Eat foods rich in Vitamin D and calcium.

Oesophagus (gullet)

Oesophagus (gullet)
  • Avoid large, fatty, greasy meals
  • Eat small, healthy meals and snacks three to six times a day
  • Include plenty of complex carbohydrates in your diet
  • Limit alcohol, caffeine, milk, orange juice, garlic, onions and spices.

Trachea (windpipe)

Trachea (windpipe)
  • Maintain a healthy weight and keep your body fit and toned
  • Quit smoking.

Larynx (voice box)

Larynx (voice box)
  • Quit smoking and avoid polluted and chemically toxic environments
  • Drink plenty of water
  • Limit caffeine and alcohol
  • Don’t shout and scream!

Thyroid

Thyroid
  • Make sure you get plenty of iodide, selenium, iron and fatty acids in your diet
  • Limit your intake of refined sugars and starch and polyunsaturated oils
  • Eat a healthy, balanced diet.

Parathyroid glands

Parathyroid glands
  • Make sure you get plenty of calcium and Vitamin D in your diet.

List of medical conditions per body area

Head

Adenoids
Adenoids are also known as pharyngeal tonsils and are small lumps of tissue at the back of the throat, above the tonsils. They protect the body from harmful bacteria and viruses, particularly in babies and young children. Adenoidectomy refers to the surgical removal of the adenoids for reasons such as difficulty breathing through the nose, chronic, recurring infections or earaches.
ADHD
ADHD is a condition most often diagnosed in childhood, particularly once school-going age is reached. The most distinctive features of ADHD are the child’s inattention to the surrounding environment, and hyperactivity and/or impulsivity. These symptoms must persist for at least six months, be apparent in two or more settings (thus not only in one environment), be inconsistent with the child’s developmental level, and cause significant impairment in functioning for a conclusive diagnosis to be made by a medical professional.
  • To determine whether inattention exists, one may observe behaviours such as the child making careless mistakes in schoolwork, not listening when spoken to, disliking tasks that require sustained mental effort, and being easily distracted by external stimuli.
  • Hyperactivity is evident if the child is continually fidgeting or squirming, running around when asked to stay seated, or talking excessively.
  • Signs of impulsiveness are evident when a child finds it difficult to wait for his or her turn in activities, or keeps on interrupting others.
Most children living with this disorder have a combination of symptoms indicating both inattention and hyperactivity-impulsivity, but some children have predominantly one or the other of the features. By late childhood, adolescence and adulthood, excesses in gross motor behaviour (physical symptoms) become less apparent, and symptoms may primarily reflect fidgeting or even inner feelings of restlessness without any observable signs.

The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) estimates that between 3% and 5% of pre-school and school-age children have ADHD. This means in a class of 25 to 30 students, it is likely that at least one student will have this condition. ADHD also affects an estimated 4.1% of adults aged 18 to 44 in a given year. Males are approximately three times more likely than females to be diagnosed with ADHD.

Although the exact cause of ADHD remains unknown, researchers believe the most likely cause of ADHD to be genetic, although other causes have also been identified. Research repeatedly demonstrates that ADHD runs in families. There are also indications that the type of ADHD that persists into adulthood is more highly genetic than the type that diminishes in childhood.

In addition to genetic causes, there are other environmental and medical factors that can cause ADHD-like symptoms. Studies have concluded that heredity explains the majority of ADHD-like behaviours exhibited by children, while environmental factors explain only approximately 20% of this type of behaviour.
Dementia
Dementia is the term that is used to describe progressive brain dysfunction diseases and illnesses which result in a gradually increasing restriction of daily activities. The most well-known type of dementia is Alzheimer's disease. Dementia not only affects the person with the disease, but also their loved ones and others around them, as most patients require care in the long term.

Dementia results in impaired brain function, which makes it increasingly difficult for a person to remember, learn and communicate. After a while, which can vary from person to person, persons living with dementia will also find it difficult and eventually impossible to take care of themselves.

Dementia may also change a person's mood and personality over time. At first, memory loss and having difficulty in thinking clearly will bother the person who develops dementia. As time passes and the disease progresses, disruptive behaviour and other unpredictable behavioural problems may start presenting.

The person who has dementia may often be completely unaware of these behavioural problems, making it difficult for their loved ones to deal with the situation.
Major depression
Major depressive disorder is characterised by one or more episodes of depressed mood or loss of interest, lasting at least two weeks and accompanied by at least four additional symptoms of depression. Individuals with a history of manic or hypomanic episodes may not be classified as suffering from major depressive disorder, but could instead be diagnosed with a bipolar disorder. Major depressive disorder may consist of a single episode or may recur at various points in life. The depression is not warranted by real circumstances or events in the individual’s life and is different from the normal sadness and grief resulting from personal loss or tragedy.

Major depressive episodes can begin at any age, but the average onset is in the mid-twenties. It does, however, seem to be progressively occurring in a younger and younger population, with many children being diagnosed with major depression at an early age. The risk of developing major depressive disorder during a lifetime varies from 10% to 25% for females and from 5% to 12% for males, making depression twice as likely for women as for men. First-degree biological relatives (parents or siblings) of people with major depressive disorder are up to three times as likely to develop depression as members of the general population.

The actual cause of major depression is not known. To date, no single personality type, trait, or series of experiences has been established to account for all forms of depression. Extensive genetic studies provide strong evidence that depression is genetically transmitted. Biochemical theories have furthermore established that an error in metabolism results in a chemical imbalance that seems to play a role in depression. Certain neurochemicals responsible for transmission of nervous impulses have also been identified as involved in triggering depression.

Symptoms usually develop over a period of time. The person may experience anxiety and mild depression for several days, weeks or months before the onset of a full major depressive episode. Untreated, major depression lasts for six or more months. In about 20-30% of cases, some depressive symptoms persist for longer periods, ranging from months to years. When this occurs, it is considered to be predictive of later depressive episodes and the development of chronic depression.

To be diagnosed with a major depressive disorder, the person must also experience at least four of the following symptoms, accompanied by a depressed mood and loss of interest or pleasure:
  • Changes in appetite or weight, sleep, and psychomotor activity
  • Decreased energy
  • Feelings of worthlessness or guilt
  • Difficulty in thinking, concentrating, or making decisions
  • Recurrent thoughts of death or suicidal idealisation, plans, or attempts
Glaucoma
Glaucoma is an eye disorder causing visual loss due to the abnormally high pressure inside the eye due to too much liquid (known as aqueous humour) in the eyeball, causing damage to the optic nerve at the back of the eye. This damage can lead to loss of peripheral vision, and eventually to blindness if left untreated. Glaucoma is one of the 26 conditions listed on the Chronic Diseases List (CDL) and qualifies for a Prescribed Minimum Benefits (PMB), should it meet the entry and verification criteria.
Epilepsy
Epilepsy is a neurological disorder or brain function disorder characterised by recurrent seizures that have a sudden onset. In different patients these may range from dramatic convulsive seizures, to "absence" seizures that take the form of brief lapses in awareness or "blanking out", during which the posture and balance are maintained. Treatment can control the epilepsy.
Epilepsy is one of the 26 conditions listed on the Chronic Diseases List (CDL) and qualifies for Prescribed Minimum Benefits (PMB), should it meet the entry and verification criteria.
Bipolar mood disorder
Bipolar mood disorder is a common mental disorder, and is characterised by disturbances in physical, emotional and behavioural patterns. These mood patterns can range from great elation and agitation to extreme depression with a serious potential for suicide. These extreme shifts in energy, mood, and functioning can seriously affect the person’s ability to function in their normal activities of daily living, such as work, interacting with friends and family, sleeping and eating. These mood fluctuations occur in phases and are known as manic episodes, depressed episodes, and mixed episodes (both depressed and manic). The condition can be managed by taking specific medicine and psychotherapy. Bipolar mood disorder is one of the 26 conditions listed on the Chronic Diseases List (CDL) and qualifies for a Prescribed Minimum Benefits (PMB), should it meet the entry and verification criteria.
Schizophrenia
Schizophrenia is considered the most serious of all mental illnesses. Although it is a serious and sometimes degenerative disease, treatment is available to help the person living with schizophrenia in managing and controlling the symptoms, and reach a positive outcome.

Mostly due to stereotyping in the media, many people associate schizophrenia with violence and aggression. This is highly inaccurate and stigmatising, and this perception often prevents people from seeking treatment. Schizophrenia is a mental disorder that can be diagnosed and treated by a psychiatrist. At present, no physical diagnostic tests are available to assist with making the diagnosis, although there are tests that can rule out any physical pathology such as brain tumours, seizure disorders, or thyroid disorders that can have similar symptoms.

The term "schizophrenia" comes from the Greek word meaning split or fragmented thoughts. Schizophrenia is a split from reality – not a split personality as is the common misperception.

Types of schizophrenia

  • Paranoid schizophrenia: extremely suspicious of others, characterised by intense beliefs of persecution; hallucinations and delusions are prominent and common.
  • Disorganised schizophrenia: verbally incoherent, inappropriate moods and emotions; hallucinations are not common.
  • Catatonic schizophrenia: extreme withdrawal and isolation, obvious psychomotor disturbances.
  • Schizo-affective disorder: symptoms of schizophrenia as well as a mood disorder such as depression or bipolar disorder.
  • Undifferentiated schizophrenia: general diagnosis of schizophrenia without conforming to one of the above sub-types, or features a combination of sub-types with no dominance of a particular one.
Post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
Post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is often misunderstood and misdiagnosed, even though the condition presents with very specific symptoms. PTSD has also historically been called “shell shock”, and “battle fatigue”, and was first brought to the public attention by war veterans following the Korean and Vietnam wars.

PTSD can result from experiencing or witnessing any number of traumatic incidents, including hijackings, domestic violence or violent attacks, road accidents, robberies and natural disasters.

People with PTSD are plagued by persistent frightening memories of the traumatic event and often feel emotionally numbed and detached from the world due to their experience.
Obsessive-compulsive disorder
Obsessive-compulsive disorder is a type of anxiety disorder that affects both males and females of all ages and all ethnic groups. The illness afflicts 2-3 % of the population in all economic brackets during any given year and can develop at any age, but often begins in adolescence or early adulthood. It usually lasts for many years, during which time symptoms may vary in severity and focus, with the person in the early stages of the disorder being able to keep symptoms under control. Obsessions and/or compulsive rituals may later become so time-consuming that they interfere with the person’s life in a significant and totally debilitating way. In some cases, the person might learn to adapt better to their symptoms, yet they will be significantly affected by them.
Panic disorder
A person with panic disorder experiences brief episodes of intense fear accompanied by multiple physical symptoms such as heart palpitations, dizziness, nausea, tingling, and chest pains that occur repeatedly and unexpectedly in the absence of any external threat. These panic attacks, the characteristic feature of panic disorder, are believed to occur when the brain's normal mechanism for reacting to a threat – the so-called fight or flight response – becomes inappropriately aroused.

Most people with panic disorder also feel anxious about the possibility of having another panic attack and avoid situations in which they believe these attacks are likely to occur. Anxiety about another attack, and the avoidance it causes, can lead to disability in panic disorder.
Social anxiety disorder
Social anxiety disorder is defined as an intense fear of being humiliated in social situations and of becoming embarrassed in front of other people. The disorder is characterised by extreme fear of scrutiny by others, especially during performance. Social anxieties may present as a fear of being around other people, presenting a talk, even eating or signing cheques in public. The most common social anxiety is the fear of speaking in public.

People suffering from social anxiety disorder tend to think that they are not competent in public, while every other person is. They display three essential features – a fear of scrutiny by other people, a marked and persistent fear of performance situations, and an active avoidance of these feared situations. Physical symptoms of anxiety manifest themselves before, during and after the actual event. Small mistakes people generally ignore become exaggerated into anxiety-inducing events that create great embarrassment. Blushing, the body’s natural response to embarrassment, becomes a painfully embarrassing event in itself.

There are three types of social anxiety:
Interactional type:the anxiety of doing things in public, like eating, writing, starting a conversation
Performance type:the anxiety of giving a presentation or speaking during a meeting
Generalised type:fear and anxiety of any interaction

Down syndrome
Down syndrome, also called trisomy 21 syndrome, is a chromosomal disorder caused by an extra 21st chromosome. Dr John Langdon Down first described the syndrome in 1866, and the disorder was identified as a chromosomal disorder by Jérôme Lejeune in 1959. Although Down syndrome cannot be prevented, it can be detected before a child is born with an amniocentesis during pregnancy. Down syndrome is often associated with a measure of impairment of cognitive ability and physical growth, as well as a characteristic facial appearance. These characteristics can vary widely from child to child, and while some children with Down syndrome may need extensive medical attention, others lead healthy lives. There are many resources and support networks within communities to help people living with the condition.
Nervous system
Multiple sclerosis
A common demyelinating disorder of the central nervous system, causing patches of sclerosis (plaques) in the brain and spinal cord.
Polio
Poliomyelitis is a disease caused by infection with the poliovirus. It affects the central nervous system and can lead to full or partial paralysis. Spinal polio is the most common form of the disease:; it’s characterised by partial or full paralysis of the legs.

Neck/throat

Hypothyroidism
Hypothyroidism is the subnormal activity or functioning of the thyroid gland. If present at birth and left untreated it may lead to cretinism, which may cause mental and physical slowing in adults, undue sensitivity to cold, slowing of the pulse rate, weight gain and coarsening of the skin (myxoedema), while also impacting on general metabolism.
Hypothyroidism is one of the 26 conditions listed on the Chronic Diseases List (CDL) and qualifies for a Prescribed Minimum Benefits (PMB), should it meet the entry and verification criteria.
Hyperlipidaemia (high cholesterol)
Hyperlipidaemia or “elevated cholesterol” is a condition which occurs when there are elevated levels of cholesterol (hypercholesterolaemia) and/or triglycerides (hypertriglyceridaemia) in the blood. This condition, left untreated, may predispose a person to coronary heart disease and the development of fatty plaques on the inner walls of arteries (atherosclerosis), with eventual restriction of blood flow. Familial hypercholesterolaemia is a common cause of this condition. Hyperlipidaemia is one of the 26 conditions listed on the Chronic Diseases List (CDL) and qualifies for a Prescribed Minimum Benefits (PMB), should it meet the entry and verification criteria.

Chest

Asthma
Asthma is a lung disorder characterised by narrowing of the bronchial airways resulting from inflammation of the airway lining. The swelling and accumulation of mucous and spasm of the muscles (bronchospasm) leads to shortness of breath/difficulty breathing, wheezing, coughing and congestion. Bronchial asthma can be caused by a wide range of irritants such as allergens, medicine, air pollution or infection, and even by emotion, exercise and climate changes, but can be treated successfully. Asthma is one of the 26 conditions listed on the Chronic Diseases List (CDL) and qualifies for Prescribed Minimum Benefits (PMB), should it meet the entry and verification criteria.
Bronchiectasis
The chronic dilation of the bronchi or bronchioles as a sequel of inflammatory disease or obstruction.
Coronary artery disease
Coronary artery disease is caused by atherosclerosis (the development of fatty plaques on the inner walls of arteries) with eventual restriction of blood flow. This may lead to angina pectoris or heart cramp, and to myocardial infarction (the death of a segment of the heart muscle caused by an interruption of its blood supply), causing the patient to suffer a “heart attack” (sudden severe chest pain), cardiac arrest, heart arrhythmias, or other complications.
Risk factors include a diet high in cholesterol, saturated fats and refined carbohydrates, hypertension, diabetes mellitus, obesity, lack of exercise, smoking, excessive alcohol intake, and high levels of stress.
Coronary artery disease is one of the 26 conditions listed on the Chronic Diseases List (CDL) and qualifies for a Prescribed Minimum Benefits (PMB), should it meet the entry and verification criteria.
Cardiac failure (heart failure)
Cardiac or heart failure (also called congestive heart failure) is the inability of the heart to supply sufficient blood flow to meet the needs of the body. This can cause a number of symptoms including shortness of breath, leg swelling, and exercise intolerance. The condition is diagnosed with echocardiography (ECG) and blood tests. Treatment commonly consists of lifestyle measures (such as smoking cessation, light exercise including breathing protocols, decreased salt intake and other dietary changes) and medications, and sometimes requires the placement of devices or even surgery.
Common causes of heart failure include myocardial infarction (heart attack) and other forms of ischemic heart disease, hypertension, valvular heart disease, and cardiomyopathy. The term "heart failure" is sometimes incorrectly used to describe other cardiac-related illnesses, such as myocardial infarction or cardiac arrest.
Cardiac failure is one of the 26 conditions listed on the Chronic Diseases List (CDL) and qualifies for Prescribed Minimum Benefits (PMB), should it meet the entry and verification criteria.
Dysrhythmias
Cardiac dysrhythmia (also known as arrhythmia) is a term describing a variety of conditions in which there is abnormal electrical activity in the heart. The heart beat may be too fast or too slow, and may be irregular.
Some dysrhythmias are life-threatening medical emergencies and can result in cardiac arrest. Others cause symptoms such as an abnormal awareness of heart beat (palpitations), and may be caused by atrial/ventricular fibrillation, conduction defects, and other technical or mechanical issues in cardiac pacemakers/defibrillators. Still others may not be associated with any symptoms at all, but may predispose the patient to potentially life-threatening stroke or embolism.
Cardiac dysrhythmia is one of the 26 conditions listed on the Chronic Diseases List (CDL) and qualifies for a Prescribed Minimum Benefits (PMB), should it meet the entry and verification criteria.
Breast health and breast cancer
A woman’s breasts are such an important part of her femininity that women should take time to examine their breasts regularly, at least once a month. Breast health awareness is a goal of the breast health movement, and promotes informal familiarity with the normal state of a woman's breasts. Breast self-examination and familiarity with breasts should be a mandatory and regular feature of normal living, and will help women to recognise the cyclical pattern of changes in their breasts.

Nine out of ten breast lumps are not malignant or cancerous – but it is very important to consult a doctor immediately to safely eliminate the possibility of breast cancer. Also, early detection of breast cancer can save the breast and cure the cancer. Breast self-examination and screening mammography help detect breast cancers at a smaller size and earlier stage, both of which are positive factors in curing cancer. Breast cancer can be cured, especially if detected early. Your lifestyle influences your risks for cancer – a low-fat, high-fibre diet decreases the risk of many diseases, and regular cardio-vascular exercise lowers the cancer rate by 37%.

Breast cancer warning signs
Symptoms are not obvious in the early stages. A woman should seek advice if she notices any changes in her breasts. Later symptoms may include:
  • A lump or thickening in the breast
  • Any changes in the contours of the breast
  • Dimpling/scaling/puckering of the skin around the nipple
  • Secretions by the nipple (except milk)
  • Itchiness
  • Redness or sensitivity of the nipple that is not associated with breastfeeding or menstruation
  • A lump or swelling in the armpit

Blood

Haemophilia
An inherited disorder of blood coagulation characterised by a permanent tendency to haemorrhage, whether spontaneous or traumatic, due to a defect in the blood coagulating mechanism.
Hypertension (high blood pressure)
Hypertension or high blood pressure is the elevation of the arterial blood pressure above the normal range expected in a certain age group. The cause of hypertension is unknown, but may be attributed to genetic factors, underlying disease such as kidney disease, endocrine diseases or disease of the arteries, or lifestyle (including obesity/lack of exercise). It often presents no symptoms, but may cause headaches and dizziness. It is important to have your blood pressure checked regularly, because high blood pressure may cause damage to tissues and organs, heart disease, hardening of the arteries and even stroke if left untreated. Normal blood pressure is around 120/80, and the hypertension guidelines recommend initiating treatment when your blood pressure remains above 140/90. Hypertension is one of the 26 conditions listed on the Chronic Diseases List (CDL) and qualifies for a Prescribed Minimum Benefits (PMB), should it meet the entry and verification criteria.

Abdomen

Appendicitis
Appendicitis is caused by the inflammation of the appendix. It is a medical emergency and many cases require immediate removal of the inflamed appendix, either by laparotomy or laparoscopy. If left untreated, the inflamed appendix may rupture, leading to peritonitis and shock. Symptoms of appendicitis vary from abdominal pain, which may at first not be confined to one particular area, but mostly occurs in the central part of the abdomen, to loss of appetite, which may progress to nausea and even vomiting. As the inflammation progresses to the lining of the abdomen, the pain may change and may be localised to an area between the front of the right hip bone and the belly button. Should the appendix rupture, infection will spread throughout the abdomen.
Diabetes mellitus
Diabetes mellitus is a disorder of carbohydrate metabolism in which sugars in the body are not oxidised to produce energy due to a lack of the pancreatic hormone insulin. The accumulation of sugar in the blood (hyperglycaemia) leads to its appearance in the urine. Symptoms include thirst, weight loss, and the excessive production of urine – waking up at night due to thirst, excessive cravings or frequent passing of urine should alert people to investigate the possibility of diabetes. If left untreated the use of fats as an alternative source of energy leads to disturbances in the acid-base balance, the accumulation of ketones in the bloodstream (ketosis) and eventually diabetic coma.

Diabetes that starts in childhood or early adolescence is usually more severe than that beginning in middle or old age. It is known as type 1 diabetes mellitus as patients have very little or no ability to produce the hormone and are dependent on insulin injections. In type 2 diabetes mellitus, which usually occurs after the age of 40 but may develop in younger people, the pancreas retains some ability to produce insulin but this is inadequate for the body’s needs, or alternatively the body becomes resistant to the effects of insulin. Control of the diet is crucial in all types of diabetes, particularly ensuring the consumption of adequate carbohydrates, as a lack of balance in the diet or insulin taken leads to hypoglycaemia. Long-term complications of diabetes include damage to blood vessels, which can affect the eyes, nerves and kidneys.
Diabetes mellitus (type 1 and 2) is one of the 26 conditions listed on the Chronic Diseases List (CDL) and qualifies for a Prescribed Minimum Benefits (PMB), should it meet the entry and verification criteria.
Irritable bowel syndrome
Also referred to as IBS or spastic colon, is a disorder characterised by abdominal pain; cramping and changes in bowel movements (diarrhoea or constipation). These symptoms range from mild to severe.

Limbs

Rheumatoid arthritis
Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic, systemic inflammatory disorder that may affect many tissues and organs, but principally attacks synovial joints, freely movable joints, where the ends of the bone are covered with cartilage, and connected by a ligament lined with synovial membranes which secrete synovial fluid. The inflammation of the connective soft tissue causes the extension of synovial tissue over the cartilages, which become eroded. Rheumatoid arthritis can also produce diffuse inflammation in the lungs, pericardium, pleura, and sclera, and also nodular lesions, most common in subcutaneous tissue. Although the cause of rheumatoid arthritis is unknown, autoimmunity plays a pivotal role in both its chronicity and progression, and rheumatoid arthritis is considered a systemic autoimmune disease.

Various treatments are available. Non-pharmacological treatments include physical therapy, orthoses, occupational therapy and nutritional therapy, but these do not stop the progression of joint destruction. Analgesia (painkillers) and anti-inflammatory drugs, including corticosteroids, are used to suppress the symptoms, while disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDs) are required to inhibit or halt the underlying immune process and prevent long-term damage.
Rheumatoid arthritis is one of the 26 conditions listed on the Chronic Diseases List (CDL) and qualifies for a Prescribed Minimum Benefits (PMB), should it meet the entry and verification criteria.

Pelvis

Menopausal symptoms
Women may suffer from menopausal symptoms when the ovaries cease to produce an egg cell every four weeks, and menstruation ceases. The menopause can occur at any age, normally between the middle thirties and middle fifties, commonly between 45 and 55. During menopause there are marked changes in the menstrual cycle – menstruation may decrease gradually in successive periods or the intervals between periods may lengthen, or alternatively periods may stop abruptly. There is a change in the sex hormones in the body, which may lead to hot flushes and other symptoms, including palpitations or emotional disturbances. Some of these symptoms may be alleviated through hormone replacement therapy (HRT).
Benign prostatic hyperplasia
An increase in the size of the prostate, due to hyperplasia (an increase in the number of cells). Nodules form and press on the urethral canal and can obstruct the urethra, making urination difficult and painful.
Endometrial ablation
A medical procedure which ablates (destroys) the endometrial lining of the uterus. It’s used to treat heavy bleeding and is only carried out once hormonal and other medical therapies have been unable to address the problem.

General

Alcoholism
While drinking moderate amounts of alcohol at appropriate events and times may be socially acceptable, it is a habit that can easily get out of hand. This happens when alcohol use interferes with normal life and needs to be addressed and treated. The term “alcohol abuse” means using alcohol often and excessively, and when someone needs alcohol to cope with their duties every day, or has withdrawal symptoms if they don’t drink, they’re an alcoholic. While alcohol initially increases their functioning, over time it takes larger amounts of alcohol to achieve the same effect, and functioning begins to decrease as their bodies have become dependent on the alcohol. It is very important for alcoholics to seek help as soon as possible.
Anaphylaxis
A life-threatening type of allergic reaction which develops quickly, often in reaction to drugs, food or insect bites. Symptoms include hives, swelling of the face, eyes or tongue, and nausea or vomiting.
HIV/Aids
HIV stands for human immunodeficiency virus. HIV slowly weakens a person’s immune system, and therefore a person’s ability to fight off other diseases, by destroying CD4+T cells. HIV can lead to acquired immune deficiency syndrome (Aids), a group of serious sicknesses which can only occur when the immune system is very weak.