Non-communicable diseases

Non-communicable – or chronic – diseases are diseases of long duration and generally slow progression. The four main types of non-communicable diseases are cardiovascular diseases (like heart
attacks and stroke), cancer, chronic respiratory diseases (such as chronic obstructed pulmonary disease and asthma) and diabetes.

Non-communicable diseases, or NCDs, are by far the leading cause of death in the world, representing 63% of all annual deaths. Non-communicable diseases (NCDs) kill more than 36 million people each year. Some 80% of all NCD deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries.

10 facts on NCDs

1. NCDs account for 63% of all deaths.
2. 80% of NCDs deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries.
3. More than nine million of all deaths attributed to non-communicable diseases (NCDs) occur before the age of 60.
4. Around the world, NCDs affect women and men almost equally.
5. NCDs are largely preventable by means of effective interventions that tackle shared risk factors, namely: tobacco use, unhealthy diet, physical inactivity and harmful use of alcohol.
6. NCDs are not only a health problem but a development challenge as well. They force many people into, or entrench them in poverty due to catastrophic expenditures for treatment.
7. One and a half billion adults, 20 and older, were overweight in 2008.
8. Nearly 43 million children under five years old were overweight in 2010.
9. Tobacco use kills nearly six million people a year. By 2020, this number will increase to 7.5 million, accounting for 10% of all deaths.
10. Eliminating major risks could prevent most NCDs. If the major risk factors for chronic disease were eliminated, at around three-quarters of heart disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes would be prevented; and 40% of cancer would be prevented.