About Non-Communicable Diseases: What they are.

Non-communicable diseases (NCD) are diseases that are non-infectious or are not passed from one person to another i.e non-communicable. The main NCDs include cardiovascular diseases (e.g heart disease and stroke), cancers, chronic respiratory diseases and diabetes. Some of these diseases progress slowly or cause chronic symptoms while others progress very rapidly.

Non-communicable diseases (NCD) are diseases that are non-infectious or are not passed from one person to another i.e non-communicable. The main NCDs include cardiovascular diseases (e.g heart disease and stroke), cancers, chronic respiratory diseases and diabetes. Some of these diseases progress slowly or cause chronic symptoms while others progress very rapidly.

According to the World Health Organization, these diseases “are largely preventable” because they are linked by similar risk factors, which include:

  • Tobacco use
  • Unhealthy diet
  • Physical inactivity and
  • Harmful use of alcohol.
All these risk factors are behavioural or lifestyle habits; they are therefore modifiable meaning that people can change or stop such behaviour or lifestyle habits to lead a healthier life and avoid preventable NCDs. Tobacco use, for example, kills nearly 6 million people a year and by 2020, this number will increase to 7.5 million, accounting for 10% of all deaths. WHO estimates that at around three-quarters of heart disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes can be prevented; and 40% of cancer would be prevented.