11. tbl. 98. árg. 2012

Chronic non-communicable diseases: a global epidemic of the 21st century

Langvinnir sjúkdómar: heimsfaraldur 21. aldar

Chronic Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) are the cause of 86% of all deaths in the EU and 65% of deaths worldwide. A third of these deaths occur before the age of sixty years. The NCDs affect 40% of the adult population of the EU and two thirds of the population reaching retirement age suffers from two or more NCDs. The NCDs are a global epidemic challenging economic growth in most countries. According to the WHO, NCDs are one of the major threats to worldwide social and economic development in the 21st century. The problem is of great concern to the international community and was discussed at a High level meeting at the UN General Assembly in September 2011.

In this paper we review the epidemic of NCDs both from a national and international perspective. We discuss the causes and consequences. In a second review paper we reflect on the political health policy issues raised by the international community in order to respond to the problem. These issues will become a major challenge for social and economic development in most countries of the world in the coming decades.

Andersen K1, Gudnason V2

1Cardiovascular Research Center Landspítali University Hospital Faculty of Medicine, University of Iceland IS-101 Reykjavík, Iceland. 2Icelandic Heart Association Reseach Institute Faculty of Medicine, University of Iceland IS-200 Kópavogur, Iceland

Figure 1: the proportion of the observed decline in premature coronary heart disease mortality in Iceland 1981-2006 explained by treatment and risk factor development.

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