Causes of non-infectious diseases learning outcomes:
- Investigate the causes and effects of non-infectious diseases in humans for genetic diseases, diseases caused by environmental exposure, nutritional diseases and cancer
- Collect and represent data to show the incidence, prevalence and mortality rates of non-infectious diseases, for example, nutritional diseases and diseases caused by environmental exposure
Do non-infectious diseases cause more deaths than infectious diseases?
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), non-communicable diseases (NCDs) such as heart disease, cancer, and diabetes, are responsible for approximately 71% of all deaths globally. Infectious diseases such as HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria are responsible for approximately 25% of global deaths. Therefore, it can be said that non-infectious diseases cause more deaths than infectious diseases.
Genetic diseases can be inherited from one or both parents, and they can cause various health problems such as cystic fibrosis, sickle cell anaemia, and Huntington’s disease. Environmental exposure to pollutants, toxins, and radiation can cause various non-infectious diseases such as lung cancer, skin cancer, and mesothelioma. Nutritional diseases such as malnutrition, obesity, and diabetes can result from an imbalanced diet or insufficient intake of essential nutrients.
Here are some statistics regarding the incidence, prevalence, and mortality rates of non-infectious diseases caused by environmental exposure and nutritional diseases:
- Environmental exposure-related diseases:
- Lung cancer: It is the leading cause of cancer death globally, and it is strongly linked to environmental exposure to tobacco smoke, air pollution, and occupational exposure to carcinogens. In 2020, there were approximately 2.2 million new cases and 1.8 million deaths from lung cancer worldwide.
- Mesothelioma: It is a rare and aggressive cancer that is caused by exposure to asbestos fibers. In 2020, there were approximately 30,000 new cases and 25,000 deaths from mesothelioma worldwide.
- Skin cancer: It is the most common type of cancer worldwide, and it is strongly linked to exposure to ultraviolet radiation from the sun or tanning beds. In 2020, there were approximately 3.9 million new cases and 56,000 deaths from skin cancer worldwide.
- Nutritional diseases:
- Malnutrition: It is a condition that results from insufficient intake of essential nutrients, and it can lead to stunted growth, weakened immune system, and increased risk of death. In 2020, approximately 149 million children under the age of 5 were stunted due to malnutrition.
- Obesity: It is a condition that results from an excessive intake of calories and lack of physical activity, and it can lead to various health problems such as heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. In 2020, approximately 39% of adults worldwide were overweight, and 13% were obese.
- Diabetes: It is a chronic disease that results from high blood sugar levels, and it can lead to various health problems such as blindness, kidney failure, and amputations. In 2020, there were approximately 463 million adults living with diabetes worldwide, and it was responsible for approximately 4.2 million deaths.
In conclusion, non-infectious diseases such as environmental exposure-related diseases and nutritional diseases are responsible for a significant proportion of global deaths. Therefore, it is essential to implement measures to prevent and manage these diseases to reduce the burden on individuals, families, and communities.
Causes of non-infectious diseases questions
- What is a genetic disease, and how is it different from other types of non-infectious diseases? Provide examples of genetic diseases and discuss the factors that contribute to their development.
- What are some common environmental factors that can cause non-infectious diseases? How can individuals protect themselves from exposure to these factors, and what are the long-term consequences of exposure?
- How does poor nutrition contribute to the development of non-infectious diseases? What are some common nutritional diseases, and how can individuals prevent them through diet and lifestyle choices?
- How do mortality rates for non-infectious diseases compare to those for infectious diseases? What factors contribute to the high incidence and prevalence of non-infectious diseases, and what can be done to address this public health challenge?
- A genetic disease is a disease that is caused by an abnormality in an individual’s DNA. Unlike other non-infectious diseases, which can be caused by a variety of factors including lifestyle, environment, and nutrition, genetic diseases are inherited from one or both parents. Examples of genetic diseases include cystic fibrosis, sickle cell anemia, and Huntington’s disease. Factors that contribute to the development of genetic diseases include mutations in the DNA sequence, chromosomal abnormalities, and inherited gene mutations.
- Environmental factors that can cause non-infectious diseases include exposure to pollutants, chemicals, and radiation. These factors can contribute to the development of diseases such as cancer, respiratory diseases, and neurological disorders. Individuals can protect themselves from exposure by wearing protective clothing, using air filters, and avoiding areas with high pollution levels. The long-term consequences of exposure can include chronic illness, disability, and premature death.
- Poor nutrition can contribute to the development of non-infectious diseases by leading to deficiencies in essential nutrients or excess intake of harmful substances. Common nutritional diseases include obesity, type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. Individuals can prevent these diseases through a balanced diet that includes a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats. Regular physical activity can also reduce the risk of developing nutritional diseases.
- Mortality rates for non-infectious diseases are generally higher than those for infectious diseases. Factors that contribute to the high incidence and prevalence of non-infectious diseases include aging populations, changes in lifestyle and diet, and increased exposure to environmental pollutants. To address this public health challenge, interventions are needed that promote healthy lifestyles, reduce exposure to environmental toxins, and provide access to preventative care and treatment. Public health campaigns that raise awareness of the risks associated with non-infectious diseases can also help to reduce their incidence and mortality rates.
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