Description: Non-communicable diseases (NCDs) are classified as lifestyle diseases. These diseases are closely related to lifestyle choices and habits such as smoking, drug and alcohol abuse. They are chronic, which means they are slow acting and could result in death. Generally speaking, Non-Communicable Diseases are not contagious or infectious to other people. Although there are “remedies” for some NCDs, it is difficult to reverse the long-term damage caused by NCDs.

Highly probable causes of Non-Communicable Diseases are:

NCDs include:

  1. Cardiovascular diseases
  2. Cancers
  3. Respiratory diseases and
  4. Diabetes
  5. Hypertension

Good Nutrition

Eating a well-balanced diet means investing in your health and your future. Our Top PHILA nutrition tips encourage you to:

  1. Follow a well balanced diet and enjoy a variety of fresh fruits and vegetable : Our bodies need a variety of nutrients. No single food or meal can provide us with all the nutrients we need.
  2. Avoid foods and drinks containing sugar as this could lead to obesity and diabetes.
  3. Use fat sparingly, rather bake/roast or boil your food instead of frying it with oil.
  4. Make starchy foods the basis of most meals. Eat lots of fibre-rich food such as whole-grain food, beans and brown bread.
  5. Drink lots of clean, safe water.
Check out our PHILAThursday video where we show you how to start your own gardening project and grow vegetables in your backyard!

#PHILAthursday: Mama Asnath Teffo of Dimphonyana Tsa Lapeng Talks About Community Gardening

Health Screening, Men’s Health

Health screening and testing is vital for all men in order to detect any diseases that need to be treated. Men’s health refers to the health management of Men. This may include assessment of physical, emotional or sexual reproductive health.

It is important for Men to be proactive about their health. Early detection of most NCDs can lead to earlier prevention of high blood pressure and high cholesterol levels. The sooner you know, the more control you have #PHILA

Knowledge comes from going for regular health checks that are available free at your nearest local clinic. If you know your Health status it empowers you to:

  • ☛ start treatment - if you have any conditions
  • ☛ adhere - to treatment that the medical practitioner has prescribed for you
  • ☛ stay healthy- if you do not have any conditions and prevent yourself from getting an NCD.
Check out our PHILAThursday video where we chat to Sello Maake Ka Ncube on the importance of Men going for health screening and testing:

#PHILAthursday: Sello Maake Ka Ncube

#PHILAthursday - 23 November 2017

Physical Activity

The most effective way to combat Non-Communicable Diseases is to get up and get fit. The benefits of exercise and movement to the body are immeasurable. No matter what size, age or shape you are, you can make a commitment to be a fitter version of yourself. Here are our 3 PHILA guidelines to have your heart pumping and keep your body in shape.

  • Frequency : exercise three to five times a week (e.g. brisk walking) duration: 20 – 50 minutes
  • Intensity : within your target heart rate
  • Have fun : choose a form of exercise that you enjoy and stick to it
Check out our PHILAThursday video where we show you how an aerobics group in Meadowlands Soweto - SNAC- stay fit and exercise in their community.

#PHILAthursday: Mandla Hlatswayo of SNAC (Soweto) on how he moved from dance to aerobics

Physical Exercise for the Elderly

Physical activity is is a good way for the elderly to improve their energy levels and feeling of wellness. Physical activity reduces stress and also strengthens the immune system and assists with the lowering of high blood pressure. Older adults with poor mobility should perform physical activity to enhance balance and prevent falls on three or more days a week. Doing physical exercise in a group is more fun than when you are alone. It becomes part of socialising with other like minded senior citizens. Join a local exercise club for the aged in your neighbourhood or start one #PHILA

Check out our PHILAThursday video where profile an elderly exercise club doing their weekly exercise routine.

#PHILAthursday: Gogos Doing Physical Exercise At Outdoor Gym

Heart Disease

Heart diseases can be caused by genetic factors, lifestyle choices, birth defects, infections, or a combination of factors. Specific types of heart disease such as rheumatic heart disease or congenital heart disease have specific causes such as infection or birth defects. However, most cases of heart disease develop due to gradual damage to the heart and the blood vessels.

Heart disease often does not have a single cause, but rather many factors that together increase the chance of heart damage and eventually results in heart disease. The more risk factors you have, and the more serious the individual ones are, the greater the chance of developing heart disease.

Prevent and manage Diabetes

Diabetes is a chronic disease, which occurs when the pancreas does not produce enough insulin, or when the body cannot effectively use the insulin it produces. This leads to an increased concentration of glucose in the blood (hyperglycaemia).

  • Type 1 Diabetes - is characterised by a lack of insulin production.
  • Type 2 diabetes - is caused by the body’s ineffective use of insulin. It is often a result of excessive body weight and physical inactivity. A high consumption of sugar causes a high metabolic dysfunction and contributes to all sorts of diseases. It can cause insulin resistance which may lead to Type 2 Diabetes.
  • Gestational Diabetes - affects women and can result in an increased risk of complications during pregnancy and at delivery. Moms and their children who were affected by gestational diabetes may be at increased risk of type 2 diabetes in the future. Gestational diabetes is diagnosed through prenatal screening, rather than through reported symptoms

Tips for avoiding Diabetes

  • Lose excess body fat. Being overweight is a big risk factor for diabetes.
  • Follow a healthy diet where you eat a variety of fruits and vegetables. Avoid foods that are high in trans fats (also called hydrogenated fat), saturated fat, and sugar.
  • Drink lots of clean, safe water and avoid sugar-sweetened beverages.
  • Exercise regularly which will reduce the risk of getting diabetes and will help you reduce your stress levels.
  • Sleep well. Chronic sleep deprivation and poor quality sleep increase the risk for diabetes and obesity.
  • Go for regular medical check ups to ensure that you are able to detect any early warning signs for diabetes.
Check out our PHILAThursday video where we discuss Sugar Tax and explain the dangers of overconsumption of sugary beverages.


Smoking Kills

It is always a good time to kick the habit of smoking! Apart from being an expensive habit to maintain, smoking opens you up to a host of diseases such as cardiovascular failure, which could lead to premature death. Smoking kills and causes cancer.

  • All tobacco products are harmful to your health and can also impact those around you through secondary smoking
  • Give moral support to people who want to quit smoking
  • Smoking is not allowed in public places where signage is visibly displayed
  • Tar in cigarette smoke causes lung cancer and emphysema which can kill you
  • Hookah smoking is highly addictive, dangerous and can kill you
  • Cigarette contains over 7 000 chemicals, including over 80 chemicals known to cause cancer
  • Smoking is known to cause low birth weight in babies and can increase infant mortality
Check out our PHILAThursday Vox Pox where we interview smokers and non-smokers on the streets of Braamfontein and ask them to provide their views on smoking.

#PHILAthursday Tobacco - 1 March2018

#PHILAthursday Tobacco 8 March 2018


Hypertension which is also known as high or raised blood pressure is a condition in which the blood vessels have persistently raised pressure, putting them under increased stress.

Each time the heart beats it pumps blood into the vessels which carry the blood throughout the body. Blood pressure is created by the force of blood pushing against the walls of blood vessels (arteries) as it is pumped by the heart. The higher the pressure, the harder the heart has to pump.

Why is raised blood pressure dangerous?

High blood pressure increases the risk of damage to the heart and blood vessels in major organs such as the brain and kidneys. Hypertension is the most preventable cause of heart disease and strokes.

If left uncontrolled, Hypertension can lead to a heart attack, an enlargement of the heart and even heart failure. Blood vessels may develop bulges (aneurysms) and weak spots that make them more likely to clog and burst. The pressure in the blood vessels can cause blood to leak out into the brain and cause a stroke. Hypertension can also lead to kidney failure, blindness, and cognitive impairment.

How can high blood pressure be prevented and treated?

Adults should have their blood pressure checked regularly. If blood pressure is high, they need the advice of a health worker who will assist and prescribe the correct treatment programme.

Lifestyle changes such as:
  • stopping tobacco use,
  • eating healthily and reducing salt intake,
  • exercising regularly, and
  • avoiding the harmful use of alcohol can assist reducing in high blood pressure.

Your health practitioner at your local clinic may also prescribe medication to control your blood pressure.

People with high blood pressure that also have high blood sugar, elevated blood cholesterol or kidney damage face even higher risk of heart attacks and stroke. Therefore it is important that regular checks for blood sugar, blood cholesterol and urine sampling should take place.

Substance Abuse

Substance Abuse is the consumption of illegal substances. People tend to confuse substance abuse with addiction, which is not the same. Substance abusers do not necessarily have a pattern to their consumption as they each have different reasons for their consumptions and different drugs of choice. Substances such as Nicotine, Marijuana, Whoonga, Nyaope, Cocaine, Heroin and Flakka (to name a few) fall under this category.

Substance abuse can alter judgment and mental control, perception, attention and also physical control. Finding effective treatment and prevention of substance abuse and substance dependence is difficult. Drug education and prevention aimed at young adolescents and young adults offers the best chance to curb substance abuse.

Many substances can also produce a phenomenon known as tolerance. This is when you must use a larger amount of the substance to produce the same level of intoxication. Also, many substances can bring on withdrawal effects caused by stopping or reducing the amount of the substance used. Long term substance abuse can lead to nerve damage, heart, liver, or kidney failure. Substance overdose may also lead to death.


Drinking alcohol is associated with the risk of developing health problems such as mental and behavioural disorders, including alcohol dependence, major Non-communicable diseases such as Liver cirrhosis (scarring of the liver), some cancers and cardiovascular diseases, as well as injuries resulting from violence and road clashes and collisions.

Consuming large amounts of alcohol also causes dehydration that could have long-term effects on your brain and body including the following:

  • Alcohol is detrimental to your health
  • Alcohol reduces driving ability, don't drink and drive
  • Do not drink and walk on the road as it is dangerous
  • Alcohol increases your risk to personal injuries
  • Alcohol is a major cause of violence and crime
  • Alcohol is addictive
  • Refrain from drinking during pregnancy since this can cause Foetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS)
  • Avoid alcohol abuse and stay healthy