Noncommunicable diseases (NCD) are not passed from person to person. They are typically of a long duration and progress slowly. The most common NCDs include cardiovascular diseases (such as heart attacks and stroke), cancers, chronic respiratory diseases (such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and asthma), and diabetes. NCDs share several common, modifiable risk factors – tobacco use, harmful alcohol use, physical inactivity, and unhealthy diet. Mitigating the effects of these common risk factors is critical to combatting NCDs worldwide.
Quick Facts About NCDs:
NCDs are the leading cause of death worldwide. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that NCDs account for 60% (more than 35 million) deaths annually.
Roughly 80% of NCD related deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries, where fragile health systems often struggle to meet the population’s most basic health needs.
WHO estimates that 48% of NCD deaths in low- and middle-income countries occur before 70 years of age, compared with 26% in high-income countries.
In 2012, all United Nations member countries committed to achieving a 25% reduction in premature mortality from NCDs by 2025 (the 25 x 25 target).
The chronic nature of NCDs means patients are sick, suffer longer and require more medical care. Consequently, family members often have to care for loved ones who are unable to work due to illness or disability, resulting in additional lost productivity and wages. In 2011, the World Economic Forum estimated that the combined global economic impact of cardiovascular disease, chronic respiratory disease, cancer, diabetes, and mental health will be more than $47 trillion dollars over the next 20 years.