Living With A Chronic Illness

Navigating Life: A Guide to Managing Your Chronic Condition with MedXpert

Managing chronic conditions can be challenging, with or without the right support. It affects your health, your daily life and future goals. But, with the necessary assistance and support, managing chronic conditions could be something you can do with ease. In this blog, we will delve into the importance of effectively managing chronic conditions, exploring their nature, and using MedXpert as a tool and ally for the management of chronic conditions.

What is considered a Chronic Condition?

Chronic conditions are defined as persistent health issues that need ongoing attention and treatment across a range of ailments, from metabolic disorders like diabetes to respiratory issues like bronchial asthma and tuberculosis (TB). Such conditions oftentimes negatively influence the daily life of the individual but can be prevented with early detection through early screenings and check-ups. Prescribed Minimum Benefits (PMBs) are an important tool in the management of chronic conditions. PMBs are comprised of defined benefits that Medical Aid providers in South Africa must cover, which ensures access to essential medical services for their members. MedXpert offers professional assistance with existing PMB’s aiding individuals in understanding their benefits to treat their chronic conditions or health challenges.

In focus – Common Chronic Conditions

1. Diabetes

In South Africa, diabetes has been an increasing issue over time with cases and diagnosis rising exponentially. Recent data indicates that around 4.5 million individuals in the nation have this condition, encompassing both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes. This prevalence is mainly found among the adult population, with incidence rates steadily increasing throughout various age demographics.

The impact of diabetes affects both the individual, as well as the healthcare system in South Africa. It is known to be the cause of additional health issues for those living with diabetes. Examples include heart problems, kidney disease, deteriorating eyesight, and surgeries to preserve or remove limbs. These health issues negatively affect the physical, mental, and financial well-being of individuals and causes steep costs to the country’s healthcare system as well as medical schemes. If you are worried about living with diabetes, visit Diabetes SA to find a support group near you.

Checking Sugar Level For Chronic Diabetes

With the management of diabetes, it is important to intervene when it comes to the preventable effects of this illness on the individual. This will enhance the positive results, and alleviate stress on the healthcare system. These techniques involve positive and healthy adjustments to the individual’s lifestyle, the proper and regular intake of medication, consistent medical monitoring, and the individual being educated about their condition.

2. Cardiovascular diseases

Cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) are a notable health issue around the globe and South Africa is no exception. CVDs are comprised of different conditions and health issues that affect the heart like coronary artery disease, heart failure, stroke, and hypertension. In South Africa, CVDs are one of the leading causes of health issues and death. According to the South African Non-Communicable Diseases Alliance, cardiovascular diseases account for approximately 18% of all deaths in the country, making them a leading cause of mortality.

Due to the negative impact of CVDs on society, effective management strategies have become essential to not only prevent premature death but also improve the lives of individuals. Examples of effective management strategies would be preventative measures like regular check-ups and treatments that aim to minimise risk factors and managing existing CVDs.

Cardiovascular Check Up
3. Respiratory conditions Respiratory conditions pose a significant stress in South Africa as they affect individuals of all ages and socioeconomic backgrounds. South Africa has high levels of respiratory conditions, like asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and other lung diseases. These conditions have a range of causes, and examples of these are:
  • Socioeconomic factors like poverty, inadequate housing, and limited access to healthcare. Poor living conditions like overcrowded housing, improper ventilation, and lack of sanitation increases the risk of respiratory infections and worsens existing respiratory conditions.
  • HIV/AIDS and Tuberculosis.
To prevent this and effectively treat existing conditions, effective management strategies are important. Examples of these include preventive measures like ensuring less pollutants, less smoking, and improved housing and sanitation. Early diagnosis and treatment is another effective management strategy but this would require access to adequate healthcare services. A final effective management strategy would be education and self-management where individuals are empowered to treat their conditions, adjust their lifestyles, monitor their medication, and ensure they visit their doctor when needed.

Managing chronic conditions when you are most vulnerable

1. When You Are Pregnant

Managing chronic conditions during pregnancy is not only important for the health of the mother but also for the health of the unborn child. Pregnancy is different for individuals with chronic conditions, as hormonal and physiological changes could impact their usual disease management strategies and the overall pregnancy. If chronic conditions are not effectively managed, it could lead to pregnancy complications like preterm birth, preeclampsia, gestational diabetes, and foetal growth restrictions.

Pregnant With Chronic Condition

Diabetes and Pregnancy:

Diabetes, both Type 1 and Type 2, can cause irreparable damage to the mother and child if the chronic condition is not managed correctly. If the mother’s blood sugar levels are not monitored and managed correctly, it could increase the risk of miscarriage, birth defects, macrosomia (large birth weight), and neonatal hypoglycaemia. The mother would also be at higher risk of developing preeclampsia.

Tips for Managing Diabetes During Pregnancy:

  • Maintain close communication with healthcare providers.
  • Stay physically active.
Managing Chronic Medication

Managing Other Critical Chronic Conditions During Pregnancy:

Other chronic conditions, like hypertension and autoimmune diseases, also require careful and effective management during pregnancy.

Hypertension, or high blood pressure, during pregnancy could cause chronic conditions like hypertension and gestational hypertension. These conditions can increase the risk of preeclampsia, preterm birth, and low birth weight. Autoimmune Diseases, like lupus or rheumatoid arthritis, require specialised medical care as pregnant moms may experience disease flares or changes in disease activity during their pregnancy.

Strategies for Managing Conditions During Pregnancy:

  • Lifestyle modifications.

2. In Children

Managing children’s chronic conditions demands a holistic approach, with parents and guardians who play a vital role in their child’s care. They often have to monitor their children’s symptoms and ensure that their children are sticking to the proper treatment plan. They also ensure their children’s well-being by being a source of emotional support and safety.

MedicAlert is a valuable resource for parents and guardians of children with chronic conditions, offering identification and medical information in case of emergencies. MedicAlert offers wearable identification, like bracelets and necklaces, which carry the individual’s important medical information and emergency contact details. In an emergency, the first responders will be able to access important information and have extra time to treat for preventable damage.

If your child has a chronic condition and you choose to use the services of MedicAlert, you would need to make sure that they wear their bracelet or necklace at all times, especially when you are not with them. The information has to always be updated and their children’s teachers, caregivers, and extended family members need to be educated about the MedicAlert bracelet or necklace.

Chronic Conditions In Children

3. When You Are Not on a Medical Aid

Effectively managing chronic conditions without any medical aid cover can be a challenge. At the very least you should consider a hospital plan. This can provide essential cover for emergencies and hospitalisation related to your chronic condition. With a hospital plan, you can access all benefits under Prescribed Minimum Benefits (PMBs), which are mandated by law to ensure that you have access to the necessary healthcare services. PMBs include the diagnosis, treatment, and care of certain chronic conditions, regardless of the plan or option chosen by the member. PMBs cover a range of chronic conditions, like diabetes, hypertension, asthma, and certain cancers.


To effectively manage a chronic condition, an individual needs proactive care, they need to be educated about their illness, and they need access to proper healthcare. If this is done, it will give them a better quality of life and will prevent early death or other preventable damage. Individuals with chronic conditions should explore the services of MedXpert to guide them in finding the cover they need for their specific chronic condition, unlocking chronic benefits with their existing medical scheme and to support them on their healthcare journey. Now you can effectively manage your chronic condition and live a full life. You’re no longer alone in this journey.

MedXpert will support you every step of the way. Visit our website and find out how we can help you. Alternatively, you can call us on 0860 860 860 or email