- A non-communicable disease (NCD) is an infirmity that cannot be transmitted directly from one person to another.
- NCDs, such as heart disease, stroke, cancer, diabetes and chronic lung disease, are collectively responsible for 74% of all deaths worldwide.
- More than 75% of all NCD deaths, and 86% of the 17 million people who died prematurely (before reaching 70 years of age) happens in low- and middle-income countries.
- NCDs share four major risk factors: tobacco use, physical inactivity, the excessive use of alcohol and unhealthy diets.
- They are also known as chronic diseases and tend to persist for a long duration, often for the lifetime.
Types of NCDs:
The main types of NCD are:
- cardiovascular diseases (such as heart attacks and stroke),
- chronic respiratory diseases (such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and asthma) and
Risk Factors for NCDs:
- While common perception would tell that these diseases affect the elderly alone, a detailed analysis would show that while age is a factor, it is far from being the deterministic one.
- 17 million NCD deaths occur before the age of 70 years which shows that children, adults and the elderly are all vulnerable to NCDs.
Behavioural risk factors:
- Risky behaviours, such as tobacco use, physical inactivity, unhealthy diet and the harmful use of alcohol, all increase the risk of NCDs.
- Tobacco alone accounts for over 8 million deaths every year, including second hand smoke inhalation.
- 830 000 deaths can be attributed to insufficient physical activity annually.
Metabolic risk factors:
Metabolic risk factors contribute to four key metabolic changes that increase the risk of NCDs:
- raised blood pressure;
- hyperglycemia (high blood glucose levels); and
- hyperlipidemia (high levels of fat in the blood).
NCDs in India:
- As per WHO, 66% of all deaths happening in India are caused by non-communicable diseases and 54% of all deaths under the age 70 are due to NCDs.
- As per an ICMR survey on mortality among tribals top NCD causes of death were cardiovascular diseases (heart diseases-24%), followed by cancers (11%).
- The study has also shown that NCDs have replaced other causes of death (such as infectious diseases), even among tribal population.