Non-communicable diseases cause 74% of global deaths: WHO

A man is checking his blood pressure. – Pixabay Adriano Gadini
  • WHO says NCDs kill 41 million people every year, including 17 million people under the age of 70.
  • Heart disease, cancer, diabetes and respiratory diseases now outnumber infectious diseases.
  • People living with NCDs, such as obesity or diabetes, were at higher risk of becoming seriously ill and dying from the virus.

Non-communicable diseases such as heart disease, cancer and diabetes are responsible for 74 percent of deaths globally and controlling risk factors could save millions of lives, the WHO said on Wednesday.

A report by the United Nations Health Organization shows that so-called NCDs, which are often preventable and caused by unhealthy lifestyles or living conditions, kill 41 million people every year, including Including 17 million under the age of 70.

heart disease, cancer, Diabetes, And respiratory disease now surpasses infectious diseases as the biggest killer globally, says the report, titled “Hidden Numbers”.

“Every two seconds, someone under the age of 70 is dying of NCD,” World Health Organization division chief Bente Mikkelsen told reporters in Geneva.

“And yet minimal amount of domestic and international financial aid is spent on NCDs. This is truly a tragedy.”

Not only are NCDs the world’s biggest killers, they also have serious implications for how people deal with infectious diseases. COVID-19 Epidemic demonstrated.

People living with NCDs, eg obesity Those with diabetes, or diabetes, had a higher risk of becoming seriously ill and dying from the virus, the report said.

Poor countries are most affected

“The data paint a clear picture. The problem is that the world isn’t seeing it,” the report warned.

Contrary to popular belief, these “lifestyle” diseases are not primarily a problem of rich countries.

The study states that 86 percent of premature NCD deaths globally occur in low- and lower-middle-income countries.

This makes addressing the problem not only a health issue but also an issue of “equity,” Mikkelsen said, pointing out that many people in poor countries do not need prevention, treatment and care. Is.

A new NCD data portal launched by the WHO on Wednesday shows countries like Afghanistan and Mongolia have the highest number of deaths from heart disease – the world’s biggest killer.

The WHO stated that it is misleading to consider NCDs lifestyle diseases because most of the risk factors are beyond an individual’s control.

“Overwhelmingly, the environment we live in limits our decisions, making healthy choices difficult, if not impossible,” the report says.

While the numbers are staggering, the WHO emphasizes that this is a largely solvable problem, as the main risk factors for NCDs are known, as are how to best manage them.

Tobacco use, unhealthy diet

Tobacco use, unhealthy diet, harmful use of alcohol, physical inactivity and air pollution are seen as the main reasons for increasing the number of NCDs.

Tobacco use alone is responsible for more than eight million deaths each year.

“More than a million of these deaths are in non-smokers, non-smokers, so innocent people,” Doug Bettcher, senior adviser on NCDs to WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, told reporters.

Another eight million deaths are attributed to unhealthy diets, meaning too little, too much or very poor quality food, the report said.

Harmful alcohol consumption, which causes liver cirrhosis and cancer, among other things, kills about 1.7 million people annually, while physical inactivity is responsible for an estimated 830,000 deaths.

But the WHO argued in its report that there are clear and proven ways to reduce these risk factors, stressing that 39 million lives could be lost over the next seven years if all countries implemented them. Can be saved.

“WHO is calling on all governments to adopt interventions known to prevent 39 million deaths by 2030 and help countless others live longer, healthier and happier lives,” Mikkelsen said.

The report emphasized that relatively small investments in NCD prevention and treatment can make a big difference.

It says an additional $18 billion a year for such initiatives in poor countries could generate net economic benefits of $2.7 trillion over the next seven years.

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