n South African Medical Journal - Adolescence : the age of Proteus : CME




This article focuses on adolescents as a group, who are exposed to major changes in their near future, with the key transformation being the epidemiological transition from the age of infectious and nutritional problems to that of the non-communicable disorders (NCDs). The major NCDs are: obesity, diabetes, maternal, newborn and child, hypertension and mental health disorders. We also discuss allergies, exposure to pollutants, indoor open stoves, and behavioural factors, such as lack of exercise, unhealthy diet, substance abuse, injuries and violence, and sexually transmitted diseases, which contribute to a risky environment. We particularly emphasise the continuum from birth to old age, during which early events may produce lifelong diseases, and which requires serious attention with regard to preventive measures during the earliest period of susceptibility. Some indicators of disease can serve as diagnostic markers and help healthcare workers to avoid complications and manage a disorder efficiently.


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