Lifestyle, Smoking; The Cause of Young Deaths

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Diseases which ‘attacks’ human are infectious diseases or outbreaks such as tuberculosis, malaria or HIV while the diseases which come from human himself are like diabetes, heart diseases, cancer and stroke.

However, from all type of diseases that stems or produced by human, there are several serious illnesses which are classified as ‘chronic’ because they have caused almost double the total death worldwide over other causes of death. Disease group which is known as ‘chronic non-communicable diseases’ (CNCD) have triggered concerns among scientists and physicians to make various effort and research to overcome its spread.

According to World Health Organization (WHO), some diseases which are in CNCD’s category are cardio vascular related illnesses, second type diabetes, chronic diseases related to respiratory system apart from several types of cancer. Director of International Institute of Global Health, United Nation University (UNU-IIGH), Tan Sri Mohamed Salleh Mohamed Yasin, said CNCD is worrying because it has caused 60 percent of deaths worldwide.

Photo of two pieces of cigarettes.“More worrying is CNCD’s chronic diseases also recorded 44 percent of deaths of patients who were still young, while the total overall death involving infectious diseases including HIV / AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria were double,” he said.

He said, from the economic side, CNCD also creates negative impact which is terrible to the productivity of the country. It is estimated within 10 coming years, China, India and United Kingdom, respectively will lost USD558 billion, USD237 billion and USD33 billion as the result from their people’s death caused by the chronic diseases.

“Without any effort to halt the CNCD spread, 388 billions people worldwide are estimated to die by this disease within 10 year, in fact 36 billions people died at an early age near 2015,” he said.

Among the factors that contributes to the increase of CNCD’s case is the longer average life span of people, tobacco consumption or smoking, low physical activities and unhealthy food diets.

“The causes of CNCD diseases are actually preventable because it involve ones lifestyle. 80 percent of deaths at an early age result of heart disease, stroke or diabetes are preventable by practicing healthy life style apart from knowledge on pharmaceutical aspects,” he said.

He said that there are CNCD chronic disease caused by smoking, hence by breaking the smoking habit, it will indirectly to overcome the spread of the disease.

Study by National Malaysian University (UKM) together with Ministry of Health lead by Profesor Dr Syed Mohamed Aljunid found that 93,306 peoples in the country died as result of diseases that stems from smoking from 2004 to 2007. “In fact each year, more than 33,000 new cases have been detected for heart diseases, lung cancer (almost 3,000) and chronic diseases (about 12,800) which come from smoking,” he said.

“But to stop the smoking habit is a big challenge to our country. Study founds that 49 percent of adult male (aged 18 years up) smoke while women as many as five percent. The study found that the number of women smokers have risen compared to the last 20 years. Once then there were only 0.5 percent but now they are already five percent. The cause could be more young women now are with careers, professionals and the influence of cigarette companies advertising,” he said.

The adverse impacts of cigarette as one to trigger CNCD have caused some countries to take stringent restriction against the product to reduce the number of smokers in their country.

“Canada as an example try to reduce the number of smokers in their country by raising the price of cigarettes higher, prohibiting piece cigarette selling besides increasing smoking prohibited areas,” he said.

The aspect of CNCD diseases prevention can be succeed by integration of various sides involving the field of science, technology, social and policy; from government down to the people.

With that in connection, Mohamed Salleh said, his team in UNU-IIGH will do various research in global health, among that, about the quality in healthcare system, control method and disease study, the development of information technology in health, impacts of climate change and impact of globalization toward health.

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