Government officials and medical experts have expressed grave concerns over the increasing trend of Non-communicable Diseases (NCDs) which are mostly chronic and killer by nature. Dreaded diseases such as cancer, cardiac ailments, high blood pressure, hypertension, diabetes and kidney failure, among others, fall in this category. The government’s health care agencies, equipped with resources, health manpower, facilities, medicines and logistics, are required to deal with them. As the diagnosis and treatment of these diseases are exceptionally costly, considerable amount of health budgets need to be funneled to this sector. This is a globally challenging issue. In the health sector, we often hear the saying prevention is better than cure. Regarding NCDs, this wisdom is practical and relevant. But the irony is that people tend to ignore and neglect risk factors until it is too late.
Lifestyle and food habits are mainly blamed for the proliferation of NCDs. Lack of healthy food in the market compounded with sale of date expired items and flooding of the market with adulterated and substandard stuffs are posing health threats to the consumers. Smoking has been identified as one of the major killers around the globe as it causes oral and lung cancer. Many people are addicted to smoking and other forms of tobacco consumption despite health warnings that they carry the high risks of cancer, a disease that is often impossible to cure. Thinking seriously about the fatal consequences before developing a smoking habit could make a big difference. Such a precautionary approach can give a lot of preventive benefits to the concerned individual, his family and friends.
Alcohol abuse is also said to be one of the causes of NCDs. Alcoholic drinks can be more dangerous if the products are spurious, substandard and fake. Makers of spurious liquors and deaths from the consumption of such stuffs often make news in Nepal and India. Add to it the indiscipline of drinking and the slow poison causes serious damage to vital organs like liver, beyond the possibility of treatment. Lack of proper ban, regulation and monitoring of food production system has encouraged the prevalence of toxic substances in food we eat that eventually lead to dangerous diseases. Over and careless use of pesticides in fruits and vegetables, declining application of organic manures, harvesting and marketing of agro products before the evaporation of pesticide residues and the use of colouring and flavouring agents in food are adding toxins in our body. This causes NCDs.
According to WHO, non-communicable ailments kill 41 million people each year globally. This constitutes whopping 71 per cent of all global deaths. Besides modern sedentary lifestyles, eating habits and prevalence of toxins in foodstuffs, there are also other factors that might cause NCDs. Genetic, physiological and environmental elements may also be at play wither in isolation or in combination. Environmentally speaking, depletion of Ozone layer in atmosphere due to concentration of Chlorofluorocarbon (CFC) gases, opens way for direct coming of sun’s harmful rays to earth surface. It is said to cause skin cancer. Other man-made pollutants may also be equally responsible.