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‘Lifestyle diseases could break SA’s healthcare budget’

Health experts have addressed key challenges facing healthcare systems at the Discovery health summit.

Picture: Reinart Toerien/EWN.

CAPE TOWN - A health summit has heard lifestyle diseases could break South Africa's healthcare budget in the coming years.

Health experts have addressed key challenges facing healthcare systems at the Discovery Health Summit in Sandton today.

Doctor Donald Pupuma, a family physician based in Soweto, says 50 percent of his patients suffer from chronic, non-communicable diseases.

He warns lifestyle diseases could break South Africa's healthcare budget.

"As a result of amputations, artificial limbs, wheelchairs and cardiac surgery; that is because all those interventions are exceptionally expensive and they are interventions which one could have avoided in a sense that they come from lifestyle diseases."

Pupuma says aggressive intervention is required from government, health practitioners and the public.

He says doctors should be recommending lifestyle changes, like regular exercise and less sugar consumption.