Non-communicable diseases kill 40-million people each year

Non-communicable diseases kill 40-million people each year


Non-communicable diseases kill 40-million people each year


New Delhi: Non-communicable diseases (NCDs) kill 40-million people each year, says World Health Organisation (WHO). Non-communicable diseases (NCDs), also known as chronic diseases, tend to be of long duration and are the result of a combination of genetic, physiological, environmental and behaviours factors. The main types of NCDs are cardiovascular diseases (like heart attacks and stroke), cancers, chronic respiratory diseases (such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and asthma) and diabetes, the WHO said. Cardiovascular diseases account for most NCD deaths, or 17.7-million people annually, followed by cancers (8.8-million), respiratory diseases (3.9-million), and diabetes (1.6-million). These four groups of diseases account for over 80 per cent of all premature NCD deaths. NCDs disproportionately affect people in low and middle income countries where more than three quarters of global NCD deaths – 31-million – occur. People of all age groups, regions and countries are affected by NCDs. These conditions are often associated with older age groups, but evidence shows that 15-million of all deaths attributed to NCDs occur between the ages of 30 and 69 years. Of these "premature" deaths, over 80 per cent are estimated to occur in low- and middle-income countries. Children, adults and the elderly are all vulnerable to the risk factors contributing to NCDs, whether from unhealthy diets, physical inactivity, exposure to tobacco smoke or the harmful use of alcohol. These diseases are driven by forces that include rapid unplanned urbanisation, globalisation of unhealthy lifestyles and population ageing. Unhealthy diets and a lack of physical activity may show up in people as raised blood pressure, increased blood glucose, elevated blood lipids and obesity. These are called metabolic risk factors that can lead to cardiovascular disease, the leading NCD in terms of premature deaths. Modifiable behaviours, such as tobacco use, physical inactivity, unhealthy diet and the harmful use of alcohol, all increase the risk of NCDs. An important way to control NCDs is to focus on reducing the risk factors associated with these diseases, the WHO said. Low-cost solutions exist for governments and other stakeholders to reduce the common modifiable risk factors. Monitoring progress and trends of NCDs and their risk is important for guiding policy and priorities. To lessen the impact of NCDs on individuals and society, a comprehensive approach is needed requiring all sectors, including health, finance, transport, education, agriculture, planning and others, to collaborate to reduce the risks associated with NCDs, and promote interventions to prevent and control them. Investing in better management of NCDs is critical. Management of NCDs includes detecting, screening and treating these diseases, and providing access to palliative care for people in need. High impact essential NCD interventions can be delivered through a primary health care approach to strengthen early detection and timely treatment. Evidence shows such interventions are excellent economic investments because, if provided early to patients, they can reduce the need for more expensive treatment, the WHO said.

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