Chronic diseases, a few numbers

“It is well established that NCDs [noncommunicable diseases] are the leading cause of death in the world, responsible for 63% of the 57 million deaths that occurred in 2008 (2). The majority of these deaths – 36 million – were attributed to cardiovascular diseases and diabetes, cancers and chronic respiratory diseases. […] In most middle- and high-income countries1 NCDs were responsible for more deaths than all other causes of death combined, with almost all high-income countries reporting the proportion of NCD deaths to total deaths to be more than 70%. […]

Low- and lower-middle-income countries have the highest proportion of deaths under 60 years from NCDs. Premature deaths under 60 years for high-income countries were 13% and 25% for upper-middle-income countries. In lower-middle-income countries the proportion of premature NCD deaths under 60 years rose to 28%, more than double the proportion in high-income countries. In low-income countries the proportion of premature NCD deaths under 60 years was 41%, three times the proportion in high-income countries.”

From this WHO publication. Males are more likely to die early on from NCDs than are females:

A little more:

“In 2008, the age-standardized adult diabetes prevalence was 9.8% among men and 9.2% among women, reflecting an increase from 8.3% in men and 7.5% in women in 1980 (5). The number of people with diabetes increased from 153 million in 1980 to 347 million in 2008 (5). For raised blood glucose/diabetes, the estimated prevalence of diabetes was relatively consistent across all country income groups.

The prevalence of raised body mass index (BMI) generally increased with rising income level of countries, and rose across all income groups over the three decades. The prevalence of overweight in high-income and upper-middle-income countries was more than double that of low- and lower-middle-income countries.

More than half of adults in high-income countries were overweight and just over one fifth of were obese. In upper-middle-income countries, more than half of adults were overweight and a quarter were obese.

In lower-middle- and low-income countries the increase in prevalence of overweight and obesity over three decades was greater than in upper-middle and high-income countries, with rates of obesity doubling over the three decades between 1980 and 2008 (6). In lowermiddle-income countries obesity doubled during this period from 3-6%, and in low-income countries from 2-4%. Overweight increased from 15-24% in lower-middle-income countries during this period, among low-income countries it rose from 10-16%. In low-income countries women’s overweight and obesity showed the most dramatic increases and in 2008 were double those of men. In these low-income countries women’s overweight doubled from 9% in 1980 to 18% in 2008 and obesity more than doubled from 2-5%.”

The publication contains some country-specific data for most countries in the world. A few Danish data: The publication estimates that NCDs account for 90 % of all deaths. Here’s a slightly more detailed version:

Do notice how little risk there is of dying of a communicable disease – in a historical context, that number is just incredibly low!

The estimated proportion of overweight males in Denmark is 57.8%, and 45.6% of males are estimated to have elevated blood pressure (‘aged 25+ with systolic BP ≥ 140 mmHg and/or diastolic BP ≥90 mmHg or on medication to lower blood pressure’). So yeah, a clear majority of Danish males in general are overweight. The numbers are better for females (46.2% and 36.7% respectively). Blood pressure used to be even higher and it has decreased significantly over the last 30 years; on the other hand both mean blood glucose and BMI have increased.

May 15, 2012 - Posted by | Data, Demographics, Diabetes, Epidemiology, Medicine, Studies

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