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Non-communicable disease: A Global Health Threat

CEO Tinh Phung
Deaths from noncommunicable diseases per million persons in 2012 Non-communicable diseases (NCDs) are a significant global health concern. Unlike infectious diseases, NCDs are not transmissible directly from one person to another. They encompass a wide...

Non-communicable disease Deaths from noncommunicable diseases per million persons in 2012

Non-communicable diseases (NCDs) are a significant global health concern. Unlike infectious diseases, NCDs are not transmissible directly from one person to another. They encompass a wide range of conditions, including Parkinson's disease, autoimmune diseases, strokes, heart diseases, cancers, diabetes, chronic kidney disease, osteoarthritis, osteoporosis, Alzheimer's disease, cataracts, and more.

The Leading Causes of Death Worldwide

The four main NCDs that contribute to the highest number of deaths globally are cardiovascular disease, cancer, chronic respiratory diseases, and diabetes. These diseases account for seven out of the ten leading causes of death worldwide. In 2019 alone, NCDs were responsible for 41 million deaths worldwide. The majority of these deaths were premature, with over 80% occurring before the age of 70.

Understanding Risk Factors

Various factors increase the likelihood of developing NCDs, including a person's background, lifestyle , and environment. Risk factors such as tobacco use, unhealthy diet, physical inactivity, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure significantly contribute to the prevalence of NCDs. Modifying these risk factors through interventions focused on better diet and increased physical activity could have a substantial impact on reducing the burden of NCDs worldwide.

Environmental and Inherited Diseases

NCDs include both environmental and inherited diseases. Environmental diseases are caused by external factors such as sunlight, nutrition, pollution, and lifestyle choices. Examples include cardiovascular diseases, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), diabetes mellitus type 2, and obesity. On the other hand, inherited diseases result from errors or mutations in genetic information. These genetic disorders can be caused by spontaneous errors or mutations to the genome or inherited genetic errors from parents.

Global Impact and Economic Consequences

Non-communicable diseases affect both high-income and low- and middle-income countries. In fact, approximately 80% of deaths due to NCDs now occur in low- and middle-income countries. The economic impact is significant, leading to losses in national income due to premature deaths. For instance, China is projected to lose approximately $558 billion between 2005 and 2015 due to early deaths caused by NCDs.

Taking Action: Prevention and Control

Preventing and controlling NCDs requires a multi-faceted approach involving policy makers and communities. Measures such as reducing salt levels in foods, limiting marketing of unhealthy products, raising taxes on tobacco, and legislating to curb smoking in public places are being discussed as potential interventions. International organizations like the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations (UN) are actively addressing NCDs through various initiatives and partnerships.

Conclusion

Non-communicable diseases pose a significant threat to global health and economies. By understanding the risk factors, promoting healthier lifestyles, and implementing effective interventions, we can work towards reducing the burden of NCDs worldwide. It is crucial for governments, organizations, and individuals to prioritize the prevention and control of NCDs to ensure a healthier future for all.

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