Non-Communicable Diseases


Non-Communicable Diseases  as the name suggests are not transmitted from person to person but is a result of combination of genetic, physiological, environmental and behavioral factors. They are also known as chronic diseases as they remain for longer period of time. (WHO) Non- Communicable diseases do not resolve spontaneously, and for which a complete cure is rarely achieved.

Characteristics of Non-Communicable Diseases (CDC)

  • Etiology is too complex
  • Latency period is long
  • There are multiple risk factors
  • Non communicable
  • Prolonged course of illness
  • Functional impairment or disability

Major categories of Non-Communicable Diseases

Image taken from: diseases/

WHO facts non-communicable Diseases

About 17 million people each year die from a Non Communicable Diseases before the age of 70. Most of them are from low- and middle-income countries. Non communicable disease kills 40 million people each year. Among all NCDs, Cardiovascular disease account for 17.7 million peoples’ death annually. Cancer is the second most killer followed by respiratory diseases and diabetes.

Risk factors of Non Communicable Diseases (NCDs)

According to WHO, A risk factor is an attitude, characteristic or exposure of an individual that increases the likelihood of developing a disease or injury. Some examples of the important risk factors are underweight, unsafe sex, high blood pressure, tobacco and alcohol consumption, and unsafe water, sanitation and hygiene. WHO

The main types of risk factors are given below.

Modifiable risk

The risk factor that can be controlled by any means which leads to reduce in the probability of disease is known as modifiable risk factor.

World Health Organization has mainly focused on the following four that can be modified.

  • Physical inactivity
  • Tobacco use,
  • Alcohol use and
  • Unhealthy diets (increased fat and sodium, with lo fruit and vegetables intake, more calories)
Non-Modifiable risk factors

Risk Factor that cannot be reduced or controlled by intervention are called non modifiable risk factors. eg.

  • Age
  • Gender,
  • Race and
  • Family history (genetics)
Metabolic Risk Factors

This can be also the cause of Modifiable risk factors. Some metabolic risk factors prioritized by WHO are:

  • Raised blood pressure
  • Raised total cholesterol
  • Elevated glucose
  • Overweight and Obesity

Major types of Non communicable diseases are

  1. Cardiovascular diseases
  2. Cancer
  3. Diabetes
  4. Chronic Respiratory Diseases
  5. Chronic neurological disorders (e.g.  dementias, Alzheimer’s etc.)
  6. Unintentional injuries (e.g. road traffic accidents)