Non Communicable Diseases: Challenge Ahead
Non-communicable diseases (NCDs) are of long duration and generally of slow progress. The four main groups of NCDs are Cardio-vascular diseases, Cancers, Chronic Respiratory diseases and Diabetes. The NCDs kill 38 million people worldwide annually (63% of global deaths). Almost three quarters of the NCD deaths (28 million) occur in the low and middle income countries. Sixteen million deaths due to NCDs are premature, occurring before the age of 70 years; and 82% of these premature deaths occur in the low and middle income countries. These four groups of diseases account for 82% of all NCD deaths: cardiovascular diseases 17.5 million, cancers 8.2 million, chronic respiratory diseases 4 million and diabetes 1.5 million. In India, 60% of all deaths are attributable to NCDs, making them the leading cause of death- ahead of injuries and communicable, maternal, prenatal, and nutritional conditions. The NCDs account for about 40% of all hospital stays and roughly 35% of all recorded outpatient visits in India. The globalization of unhealthy life styles, which are recognized as the modifiable risk factors, like tobacco use, physical inactivity, harmful use of alcohol and unhealthy diets are the key factors that increase the risk of dying from the NCDs. The unhealthy behaviours lead to four key metabolic/ physiological changes (called the intermediate risk factors of NCDs) i.e. raised blood pressure, overweight/ obesity, raised blood glucose and dyslipidaemia that increase the risk of NCDs. The underlying determinants of NCDs mainly exist in non-health sectors, such as agriculture, urban development, education and trade. In terms of attributable deaths, the leading metabolic risk factor globally is elevated blood pressure (to which 18% of global deaths are attributed), followed by overweight and obesity and raised blood glucose. Tobacco accounts for around 6 million deaths every year and is projected to increase to 8 million by 2030. About 3.2 million deaths annually can be attributed to insufficient physical activity. In 2010, 1.7 million annual deaths from cardio vascular causes have been attributed to excess salt intake. More than 3.3 million annual deaths are attributed to harmful drinking of alcohol.
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