Recent studies have shown that the chronic diseases, such as cancer, stroke, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes and chronic respiratory diseases are the leading causes of death all over the world. In 2005, it is estimated that about 35 million people died of chronic illness, half of which were under 70 years old and the other half were women (World Health Organization, (n.da). As a country develops, its productivity increases and it is also able to access other global products.
Citizens will have a change in lifestyle and demand some of these global products that the nation is able to access. This may lead to ability to obtain nontraditional food calories that would result in an increase in obesity, people may be encouraged to abuse tobacco and other substance abuse, eventually leading to development of many chronic diseases (Hale, Joubert & Kaula, 2007). Even if a nation can spend money in expensive medical care, their functional decline is bound to reduce and thus unable to prevent death. Hale, Joubert & Kaula (2007) project that in the near future, the chronic diseases will be the predominant cause of death worldwide and the developing nations will suffer most.
Diabetes is rated highly among the top causes of death, taking the lives of people of every community or culture worldwide. Between 2003 and 2030, the number of people suffering from diabetes in the world is expected to increase from 194 million to 330 million, and those living in developing countries catering for about 75% (Hale, Joubert & Kaula, 2007). This disease is a major threat worldwide and has led to the rise of organizations like the International Diabetes Federation (IDF), whose main mission is to encourage or promote the care, prevention, and cure of the diabetic worldwide.
IDF is involved in the action to deal with diabetes from the local level by creating awareness and advocacy initiatives through programs at the community level, to the global level (International Diabetes Federation, n.d). Developing countries have a great challenge in the healthcare of this disease. It is costly to manage due to its many complications such as foot ulceration and amputation, retinopathy, nephropathy and heart disease which exaggerate the burden (Hale, Joubert & Kaula, 2007).
Cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) constitute a group of disorders of the blood vessels and of the heart. They include coronary heart disease, hypertension, cerebrovascular disease, and peripheral vascular disease. These are the diseases that are most predominant among the non-communicable diseases. Study has shown cerebrovascular disease and coronary heart disease, in 2002, were the leading causes of mortality worldwide, with a disease burden of about 13% among people aged 15 years and above (Hale, Joubert & Kaula, 2007).
The most common type of heart disease in the United States is the coronary heart disease (CAD), and can result in heart attack (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, n.da). The rapid increase of CVDs globally has mainly been brought about by change in lifestyle that is as a result of urbanization and industrialization. The use of tobacco, alcohol, unhealthy diet and physical inactivity are some of the risk factors for CVDs. Unfortunately, for the developing countries, it is projected that the CVDs will be the leading cause of death from 2010 (Hale, Joubert & Kaula, 2007).
This disease is now an epidemic worldwide, in both developed and developing countries, and it is a very important risk factor for chronic disease. Between 2003 and 2004, the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), surveyed that the prevalence of obesity in adults aged above 20 years was 32.2%, and another 34.1% overweight in the United States (Hale, Joubert & Kaula, 2007). The prevalence is high also in other developing and developed nations. Obesity is known to induce cancer and the risk of having a vascular or heart disease when with it is high. Chronic obesity may significantly also contribute to osteoarthritis, and in adults, this is a major cause of disability (Hale, Joubert & Kaula, 2007).
Appropriate diet and adequate physical exercises are vital in minimizing the threat if this disease, especially when a person is young since it is common from as early as childhood. It may start by causing an organ failure, but when condoned, it may lead to multiple organ failures or eventually death (Hale, Joubert & Kaula, 2007).
The use of tobacco is a preventable cause of diseases and premature deaths worldwide. It is approximated that currently, 5.4 million people die tobacco-related deaths, and by the year 2030, this figure is expected to increase to about 8 million a year (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, n.dc). Consumption of tobacco is on the decrease in most developed countries, but in developing countries, its use is increasing. It is estimated that of all smokers, 80% live in developing countries (Hale et al. 2007). Other than a cause for chronic respiratory diseases such as asthma, its use also aids in causing laryngeal, esophageal and cavity cancers. The use of tobacco increases the risk of dying from coronary disease by about two to three times, and increases the risk of developing lung cancer by about 30 times (Hale, Joubert & Kaula, 2007).
These are mostly caused by our own carelessness or lack of taking precautionary measures when undertaking risky activities. As a result, there has been the rise of projects such as the Road Safety project funded by WHO in 10 countries (RS10), that ensures safety by encouraging increased helmet and seat-belt wearing in many countries, reduced drinking and driving among other measures (World Health Organization, n.db). Such kind of initiatives are being adopted all over the world by organizations to ensure the safety of all workers, thus reducing the rate of perishing from injuries caused due to being unsafe at work.
Cancer is a major cause of mortality all over the world and is common among older adults. In 2002, over 7.1 million deaths occurred worldwide in the over 10 million reported cases (Hale, Joubert & Kaula, 2007). The major cause is the change in lifestyle that is brought about by development in many countries. The most common cancer now with a high prevalence rate is the Lung cancer (Hale, Joubert & Kaula, 2007). The main risk factors worldwide are alcohol use, tobacco use, physical inactivity, and unhealthy diet. Of all cancer deaths, 70% occurred in low and middle income countries, and in 2030, the deaths are expected to continue rising to over 13.1 million (World Health Organization, n.dc).
Chronic disease deaths occur mostly in low or middle income countries. Creation of awareness through educational programs is important in reducing these deaths, such that the people know how to deal with their illness to avoid unnecessary deaths, and which kinds of lifestyle to adopt for healthy living. Knowing the signs and symptoms will be beneficial in reporting the illness in time, so that medication is given in time rather than late when ones chances of survival are minimal. Preventive strategies adopted in health systems will also help minimize the cost a nation would incur in treating theses chronic diseases.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, (n.da). Heart disease. Retrieved on 10th March 2012 from: http://www.cdc.gov/heartdisease/
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, (n.db).Smoking and Tobacco use. Retrieved on 10th March 2012 from http://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/global/index.htm
Hale, W. A., Joubert, J. D. & Kaula, S. (2007). Aging populations and chronic illness. In Markle, W. H., Fisher, M., & Smego, R. A. (Eds), Understanding global health (pp. 208-229). The McGraw-Hill, Columbus, OH. Retrieved on 10th March 2012 from: http://dl.dropbox.com/u/47566859/UnderstandingGlobalHealthChapter11.pdf
International Diabetes Federation. Who We Are. Retrieved on 10th March 2012 from: http://www.idf.org/who-we-are
World Health Organization, (n.da). Chronic Disease and health promotion. Retrieved on 10th March 2012 from: http://www.who.int/chp/en/
World Health Organization, (n.db). Violence and Injury prevention. Retrieved on 10th March 2012 from: http://www.who.int/violence_injury_prevention/en/
World Health Organization, (n.dc). Media centre; Cancer. Retrieved on 10th March 2012 from: http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs297/en/index.html