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Definition of Non-communicable Disease

NCD is short for non-communicable disease which is a termused for any type of disease or other medical condition which is notinfectious. These medical conditions are in most cases characterized by arather long duration and an extremely slow progression. NCDs are also oftenmistakenly referred to as chronic diseases but that is simply not the best wayof characterizing these specific types of medical conditions, mainly due to thefact that they are never caused by any type of infectious cause. There are alarge number of chronic diseases triggered by infectious causes, so these twotypes of medical conditions should not be mixed, although they both requirechronic care management.

Relevant Statistical Data

The World Health Organization claims that the global burdenof disease slowly and gradually shifts from infectious diseases tonon-communicable diseases. At the same time, life expectancy in WesternCivilization has increased over the course of the past few decades while thehealth care costs are increased with each year, mainly due to the fact thatthere are a growing number of people who suffer from NCDs everywhere around theworld. Another shocking fact is that non-communicable diseases are the leadingcause of death in the world. They represent more than 60 percent of deaths andthey affect both men and women equally. Over the years, NCDs were alwaysassociated with economic development, but they gradually started affectingpeople associated with low and middle income as well. This is why NCDs need tobe prevented and controlled on a global level. A global partnership called theNCD Alliance has been founded in 2009 and its main goals include human rightsfor people with NCDs, global access to affordable and good quality medicinesand technologies, strengthened health systems, improved lifestyles, a tobaccofree world and NCD national plans for all. NCDs are also associated withabsenteeism and presenteeism. For those who do not know, absenteeism is theterm used for absence from work caused by illnesses, while presenteeism is aterm used for the loss of productivity at work and also low levels ofperformance triggered by health related problems.

Causes of NCDs

There are numerous risk factors which can be associated withnon-communicable diseases and the most common ones include obesity,hypertension, physical inactivity, unhealthy diet, smoking, exposure to airpollution, genetics, sex, age and other behaviors, lifestyle and environmentrelated factors. All these factors can be modified so that is why NCDs caneasily be prevented. The five important risk factors for NCDs identified by theWorld Health Organization include overweight, alcohol consumption, tobacco use,raised cholesterol and raised blood pressure.

Environmental Diseases and Inherited Diseases

Environmental diseases are medical conditions which arecommonly triggered by different sorts of external factors such as lifestyle choices,pollution, food and sunlight. The most common types of environmentalnon-communicable diseases include skin cancer triggered by the radiation fromthe sun, malnutrition triggered by the consumption of too little food or wrongtypes of food, lower back pain triggered by a lack of physical activity,diabetes mellitus type 2, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease triggered bythe consumption of tobacco and many different types of cardiovascular diseases.Inherited diseases are completely different from environmental diseases becausethey are commonly triggered by the errors in genetic information of people.Such errors may include rearrangements of genetic information, defects insingle genes caused by mutation or changes in the chromosome numbers. One ofthe most common types of inherited non-communicable diseases is the one knownas cystic fibrosis.

List of Non-communicable Diseases

The list of non-communicable diseases is rather long but themost common ones include cataracts, Alzheimer’s disease, osteoporosis, chronickidney disease, diabetes, asthma, different types of cancer, stroke, heartdisease, gout, hyperthyroidism, hypothyroidism and psoriasis. Chronic kidney disease is treatable but thebig problem with it is that it may lead to the development of certain othernon-communicable diseases such as hypertension and diabetes. It is closely related with other NCDs and itoften coexists with them. Diabetes mellitus, as another common non-communicabledisease can be prevented and managed rather easily, but on the other hand it isvery difficult to cure completely. Blood sugar levels of a patient need to bekept as close to normal as possible and the methods for doing so usuallyinclude insulin medications, a steady exercise regime and very precise dietarymanagement. Lack of regular exercise, high blood pressure, obesity, high levelsof cholesterol in the blood and smoking may all accelerate the harmful effectsof diabetes so they need to be avoided as much as possible. Cancer is adreadful medical condition but in most cases it can easily be prevented simplyby avoiding certain risk factors which are commonly associated with itsdevelopment and those include air pollution, sexually transmitted infections,alcohol, physical inactivity, low vegetable and fruit intake, obesity andtobacco. The same can be said for cardiovascular disease.

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