Prevalence of non-communicable diseases

Prevalence of non-communicable diseases

A non-communicable disease is a type of disease that cannot be transferred from one person to the other. The shocking fact about non-communicable disease is that it stays with you for a long period if not for life. Genetic, physiological, behavioral, physiological, and environmental factors contribute to the rise of non-communicable diseases. According to World Health Organization (WHO), 70% of deaths around the globe are caused by non-communicable diseases and 82% give up the ghost before reaching 70. It is devastating, Isn’t it? Although some non-communicable diseases may be a result of genetics, the prevalence of non-communicable diseases in society has increased due to certain lifestyles and habits we have adopted. Ironically, non-communicable diseases were attributed to the rich in the past but it is now predominant in all aspects of social classes.


Some factors contribute to the growing incidence of non-communicable diseases in society. When these factors are not noticed and rectified, the prevalence of non-communicable diseases in society will be shocking. Read on dental bridge procedures.

Modifiable Behavioral Risk Factors

These are risk factors that can be controlled. Modifiable risk factors are behaviors, lifestyles, and habits that contribute to the high growing cases of non-communicable diseases. When these behaviors are not controlled, the prevalence of non-communicable diseases in society can be overwhelming and shocking. The modifiable behaviors include:

  • Excessive Tobacco smoking: This is the leading cause of death in non-communicable diseases. Both smokers and secondhand smokers suffer this fate with the latter having high effects on non-communicable diseases. According to WHO tobacco accounts for 7.2 million deaths every year and it is expected to rise noticeably in the coming years.
  • Unhealthy diet: Due to work, many people do not find the time to cook again. As a result of this, most people go in for processed foods. Processed foods contain too much sodium in the form of salt to preserve the food on the shelf. Too much intake of processed foods preserved with salts increases sodium levels in the body. Once sodium level rises, it increases the risk of obtaining a non-communicable disease. It is the second leading cause of death among non-communicable diseases.
  • Alcohol abuse: Alcohol abuse is detrimental not only to the health of the drinker but the society as well. It is one of the factors that increase the effect of non-communicable diseases. Excess alcohol destroys the part of the body which removes toxic substances from the body- the liver. You can just imagine what will happen to the body if the liver is destroyed. It will reduce the immune system of the body and expose it to all kinds of diseases.
  • Lack of exercise: It is a risk factor for non-communicable diseases and is classified as the fourth leading cause of death in the world. Inactive people are always in positions requiring low energy. Owing to urbanization and innovation, there has been a rising use of motor-powered transport contributing to the inactiveness. According to WHO, physical activity reduces the risk of cardiovascular problems by 30%, diabetes by 27%, and colon and breast cancer by 21%-25%. Read about microtomes.


Unlike modifiable risk factors, these factors cannot be controlled. Non-modifiable risk factors comprise family history, age, and ethnicity.

  • Family History- A family with cases of non-communicable diseases is an indication that family members who do not have any NCD are likely to be diagnosed with one. If a close family member like a sibling is diagnosed with a non-communicable, there is a high possibility of you getting diagnosed since you have similar genetic make-up. Since genetics tests are not currently performed, one of the best ways doctors use to assess the risk of being diagnosed with an NCD is family history.
  • Ethnicity– People from the same ethnic group trace their ancestry through a common lineage and are from the same geographical location. As such, they may also have similar genetic make-up and can inherit some mutations causing the NCDs.
  • Age– The body is like a machine. When a machine is used for a long time, its efficiency decreases. The same thing applies to humans. As we grow older, some parts of the body like the heart and blood vessels lose their efficiency making them prone to NCDs like cardiovascular diseases. As we get older, there is a decrease in the amount of blood the chamber can hold due to an increase in the thickness of the walls. This results in low slow filling of the heart and this may cause hypertension.


These are disorders of the body that when left untreated, contribute to the rising cases of non-communicable diseases.

  • Raised blood pressure
  • Overweight/Obesity
  • Hyperglycemia
  • Hyperlipidemia

People with one NCD are also prone to be diagnosed with another NCD if these risk factors are not noticed early.


Prevalence of non-communicable disease

There are several non-communicable diseases but have been grouped into four. These four are:

  • Cardiovascular Diseases: These are a collection of disorders of the heart and blood vessels. It includes rheumatic heart disease, congenital heart disease, etc.
  • Cancers: It is caused by the irrepressible growth of abnormal cells that destroy tissue and organs. Lung cancer breast cancer etc.
  • Chronic Respiratory Diseases: These are diseases that affect the components of the lungs and airways. Asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, etc.
  • Diabetes: It is an NCD characterized by a high level of glucose in the blood because the body cannot produce enough insulin or cannot use the insulin produced efficiently.


It is sad to know that developing countries have to battle the prevalence of non-communicable diseases with the rising rate of communicable diseases such as HIV/AIDS. Though diseases affect an individual, their effects are also borne by people surrounding him. Just imagine the breadwinner of a family getting a cardiovascular disease like stroke. That will be a very tragic loss for the family. Treatment of NCDs is very expensive since it is not a one-time treatment. Again, treatment of NCDs is not done to cure but mitigate the disease. So once the treatment s paused, the disease may continue to spread. In developing countries, a large part of the expenses of non-communicable diseases are borne by the patient Once the patient cannot raise money to take care of these expenses, the effects of non-communicable disease in society becomes more ubiquitous.

The immediate effect of non-communicable disease in society loss of skilled labor. Death is a major factor in this sense. NCDs were known to affect the old-aged but is that still the case now?  According to WHO, 85% of premature deaths in low-income and middle-income are between the ages of 30-69. Yes, you read it well. This constitutes the majority of the working force of a country. Skilled labor is also lost through the dismissal and laying off of workers with NCD. Being an NCD patient can be very frustrating. Employers will not be willing to work with you since most of your working hours will be spent in the hospital.

Once you are no longer working, all investments and monies earned from work could be used up. As a result of this, the poverty level in the country will be on the rise. With no one to help and get any source of funds, they end up dying gradually.

Skilled workers are no longer working. Who will work now? There will lead to low productivity. Low productivity will result in a shortage of goods. Shortage of goods will lead to a high cost of goods. Remember, poverty is already on the rise due to the loss of work. This will then increase the cost of living in society.

The effects of non-communicable diseases above will then impede socio-economic development. With no work to do and a high cost of living, how can one survive in such an economy? There will be high pressure on already overwhelmed health facilities in these developing countries. As such, budgets meant for the other projects will have to be divided or scrapped to solve this problem. Some may result in social vices to survive. The government will also have to spend more money on security measures to curb this situation This will bring the socio-economic development of countries to a standstill.


First and foremost, the prevalence of non-communicable diseases can be prevented when modifiable behavioral risk factors are controlled and stopped. By practicing good behavioral lifestyles like healthy eating habits, exercising daily, not smoking, and avoiding the use of alcohol, the prevalence of NCDs can even be prevented in family history with incidences of NCD.

Prevalence of non-communicable diseases can also be prevented through early detection of the disease This can only happen when we visit the hospital at least once a month to run some laboratory tests. With non-communicable diseases, everything may seem fine till it starts manifesting,

Another way of preventing the effects of non-communicable diseases is the continuous and correct use of medications and other treatments. Once an NCD has been detected early, continuous taking of medication will reduce the risk of getting an adverse effect and mitigate the disease. Continuous and correct use of medications will also increase your life span.

One of the best ways to monitor the treatment of non-communicable diseases is the use of Point of Care Testing (POCT) devices. POCT devices are small portable devices that can be used with little or no supervision. Patients can be taught how to use them, hence, there will be no need to come to hospitals to do simple tests like glucose and cholesterol levels. Examples of such devices are glucometers and cholestech analyzers for testing glucose levels and cholesterol respectively.

Furthermore, education will also play an important role in the prevention of the effects of non-communicable diseases in society. With the prevalence of NCDs even in our society people still think that it is a disease for the rich. Public Health officials should take it upon themselves to educate people who are ignorant.
a glucometer and cholestech

ant of the causes and risk factors of NCDs. Again, they should educate them on the adverse effects it brings on the individual and society as well. Once people get to know the effects of NCDs, they will try their best to prevent them.

Additionally, policymakers can also help prevent the effects of non-communicable diseases through the provision of free medical care for people suffering from NCDs. With free medical care, there will be less pressure on the finances of the patient and will use the money saved to take care of other important expenses. This will reduce the burden of searching for funds, Policymakers should also put measures in place to put up more health facilities to increase early detection of NCDs since people will not have to travel long distances to get access to hospitals.


If drastic measures are not put in place, health systems in low and middle-income countries will not be able to contain the increasing rate of non-communicable diseases.  When the preventive measures above are used, the prevalence of non-communicable diseases can be reduced drastically.

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