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Non-communicable diseases

Topics Covered:

  1. Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources, issues relating to poverty and hunger.
  2. Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre and States and the performance of these schemes.

 

Non-communicable diseases

 

What to study?

  • For Prelims: What are NCDs?
  • For Mains: NCDs- concerns, challenges posed and need for international cooperation in fighting NCDs.

 

Context: Non-communicable diseases (NCDs) — mainly cardiovascular diseases, chronic respiratory diseases, diabetes and cancer — continue to be the top killers in the South-East Asia Region, claiming 8.5 million lives each year, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO).

 

Background:

Containing the NCDs has been listed by the WHO as its health goal for this year along with reducing mortality related to air pollution and climate change, global influenza pandemic etc.

 

Key observations:

  1. Non-communicable diseases such as diabetes, cancer and heart disease, are collectively responsible for over 70% of all deaths worldwide, or 41 million people. These include 15 million people dying prematurely, aged between 30 and 69.
  2. One third of these deaths are premature and occur before the age of 70, affecting economically productive individuals.
  3. The four ‘major’ NCDs are caused, to a large extent, by four modifiable behavioural risk factors: tobacco use, unhealthy diet, insufficient physical activity and harmful use of alcohol.
  4. The NCDs disproportionately affect the poor, impoverish families, and place a growing burden on health care systems.

 

What needs to be done?

  • Consuming fibre and whole grains can reduce health risks from non-communicable diseases such as heart disease. Eating fibre-rich foods reduces the incidence of coronary heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and colorectal cancer by 16% to 24%.
  • A higher fibre intake is also associated with lower bodyweight, systolic blood pressure and total cholesterol when compared with lower intake.
  • Doctors also recommend — eat less and enjoy your food by eating slowly, fill half your plate with fruits and vegetables, avoid oversized portions which causes weight gain, at least half of your grains should be whole grains, limit consumption of food high in trans fats.

 

What are NCDs?

Noncommunicable diseases (NCDs), also known as chronic diseases, tend to be of long duration and are the result of a combination of genetic, physiological, environmental and behaviours factors.

The main types of NCDs are cardiovascular diseases (like heart attacks and stroke), cancers, chronic respiratory diseases (such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and asthma) and diabetes.

 

What are the socioeconomic impacts of NCDs?

NCDs threaten progress towards the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which includes a target of reducing premature deaths from NCDs by one-third by 2030.

Poverty is closely linked with NCDs. The rapid rise in NCDs is predicted to impede poverty reduction initiatives in low-income countries, particularly by increasing household costs associated with health care. Vulnerable and socially disadvantaged people get sicker and die sooner than people of higher social positions, especially because they are at greater risk of being exposed to harmful products, such as tobacco, or unhealthy dietary practices, and have limited access to health services.

In low-resource settings, health-care costs for NCDs quickly drain household resources. The exorbitant costs of NCDs, including often lengthy and expensive treatment and loss of breadwinners, force millions of people into poverty annually and stifle development.

 

Sources: the hindu.

 

Mains Question: India is in the midst of an epidemiological transition, whereby poverty-linked infectious, maternal and nutritional diseases exist in conjunction with non-communicable chronic illnesses. Analyse the causes and trends in spread of non-communicable diseases and their risk factors.

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