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  • A non-communicable disease, or NCD, is a medical condition or disease which is non-infectious. NCDs are diseases of long duration and generally slow progression. They include heart disease, stroke, cancer, diabetes, chronic kidney disease, osteoporosis, Alzheimer's disease, chronic respiratory conditions ,cataracts, and many others. .All these conditions require chronic medical management.
    The World Health Organization (WHO) reports NCDs to be by far the leading cause of mortality(deaths) in the world, representing over 60% of all deaths. Out of the 35 million people who died from NCDs in 2005, half were under age 70 and half were women. Of the 57 million global deaths in 2008, 36 million were due to NCDs . That is approximately 63% of total deaths worldwide. Risk factors such as a person's background, lifestyle and environment are known to increase the likelihood of certain NCDs. Every year, at least 5 million people die because of tobacco use and about 2.8 million die from being overweight. High cholesterol accounts for roughly 2.6 million deaths and 7.5 million die because of high blood pressure. By 2030, deaths due to chronic NCDs are expected to increase to 52 million per year while deaths caused by infectious diseases, maternal and perinatal conditions and nutritional deficiencies are expected to decline by 7 million per year during the same period.

  • Causes and risk factors

    Risk factors such as a person's background, lifestyle and environment are known to increase the likelihood of certain non-communicable diseases. They include age, sex, genetics, exposure to air pollution, and behaviours such as smoking, unhealthy diet and physical inactivity which can lead to hypertension,diabetes and obesity, in turn leading to increased risk of many NCDs.Most NCDs are considered preventable because they are caused by modifiable risk factors.
    The WHO's World Health Report 2002 identified five important risk factors for non-communicable disease in the top ten leading risks to health. These are raised blood pressure, raised cholesterol, tobacco use, alcohol consumption, and overweight. Other factors associated with higher risk of NCDs include a person's economic and social conditions, also known as the "social determinants of health "
    It has been estimated that if the primary risk factors were eliminated, 80% of the cases of heart disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes and 40% of cancers could be prevented. Interventions targeting the main risk factors could have a significant impact on reducing the burden of disease worldwide. Efforts focused on better diet and increased physical activity have been shown to control the prevalence of NCDs.
    Historically, many NCDs were associated with economic development and so-called "diseases of the rich" while infectious diseases seemed to affect low income countries.. However, today an estimated 80% of the four main types of NCDs - cardiovascular diseases, cancers, chronic respiratory diseases and diabetes - occur in low- and middle-income countries. The prevention and control of NCDs is becoming increasingly important on the global health agenda.

  • South Asia and NCD'S

    South Asia is home to a large, fast-growing population with a substantial proportion living in poverty. The population is relatively young and average life expectancy is now at 64 years and rising. Lifestyle changes associated with urbanization and globalization is increasing the risk factors and disease onset at younger ages. As a result, South Asians are becoming more vulnerable to heart disease, cancers, diabetes, and obesity, and creating significant new pressures on health systems to treat and care for them. The current health systems have failed to to adjust to people's changing needs.
    Over half of the disease burden is now attributable to Noncommunicable Diseases (NCDs), and therefore a larger share than communicable diseases, maternal and child health issues, and nutritional causes combined. This pattern is similar to that of high-income countries decades ago. Ischemic heart disease (IHD) is the leading cause of both deaths and forgone disability adjusted life years (DALYs) in working-age adults (15–69 years). By contrast, communicable diseases (e.g., tuberculosis, respiratory infections, and water- and vectorborne disease) still remain prominent in the total population creating what is referred to as a "double-disease burden."

    • Sri Lanka and NCD's

      Sri Lanka is a middle income country. It is already at the advanced stage of ageing and disease transitions. NCD's are burden over the last decades in Sri Lanka. During the past half century the proportion of deaths due to circulatory diseases ( heart diseases, strokes) increased from 3% to 24% while that due to infections diseases decreased from 24% to 12%. Diabetics and cancer deaths also increasing. World Bank says NCDs such as heart disease, diabetes, cancers, and asthma, as well as their risk factors such as obesity, smoking, high sugar and salt diets, and alcoholism are a major health issue affecting the population, in Sri Lanka. According to the new report the NCDs have already become the largest contributor to disease burden in Sri Lanka, accounting for 85% of ill health, disability, and early death.