Key facts: Noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) kill 41 million people each year, equivalent to 71% of all deaths globally.
Each year, more than 15 million people die from a NCD between the ages of 30 and 69 years; 85% of these "premature" deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries.
77% of all NCD deaths are in low- and middle-income countries.
Cardiovascular diseases account for most NCD deaths, or 17.9 million people annually, followed by cancers (9.3 million), respiratory diseases (4.1 million), and diabetes (1.5 million).
These four groups of diseases account for over 80% of all premature NCD deaths.
Tobacco use, physical inactivity, the harmful use of alcohol and unhealthy diets all increase the risk of dying from a NCD.
Noncommunicable diseases (NCDs), also known as chronic diseases, tend to be of long duration and are the result of a combination of genetic, physiological, environmental and behavioural factors. The main types of NCD are cardiovascular diseases (such as heart attacks and stroke), cancers, chronic respiratory diseases (such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and asthma) and diabetes. NCDs disproportionately affect people in low- and middle-income countries where more than three quarters of global NCD deaths – 31.4 million – occur.
People at risk of NCDs: People of all age groups, regions and countries are affected by NCDs. These conditions are often associated with older age groups, but evidence shows that more than 15 million of all deaths attributed to NCDs occur between the ages of 30 and 69 years.
Children, adults and the elderly are all vulnerable to the risk factors contributing to NCDs, whether from unhealthy diets, physical inactivity, exposure to tobacco smoke or the harmful use of alcohol.
These diseases are driven by forces that include rapid unplanned urbanization, globalization of unhealthy lifestyles and population ageing. Unhealthy diets and a lack of physical activity may show up in people as raised blood pressure, increased blood glucose, elevated blood lipids and obesity. These are called metabolic risk factors that can lead to cardiovascular disease, the leading NCD in terms of premature deaths.
Modifiable behaviours, such as tobacco use, physical inactivity, unhealthy diet and the harmful use of alcohol, all increase the risk of NCDs