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Home / Health & Science

WHO: Stroke leading in non-communicable diseases deaths

HEALTH & SCIENCEBy GRAHAM KAJILWA | Mon,Mar 21 2016 18:48:01 EAT
By GRAHAM KAJILWA | Mon,Mar 21 2016 18:48:01 EAT

About 12.6 million people reportedly die every year from environmental risk factors such as air, water and soil pollution.

The World Health Organization has cited chemical exposures, climate change, and ultraviolet radiation, do contribute to more than 100 diseases and injuries causing nearly one in 4 of total global deaths.

"The vast majority of environment-related deaths are due to cardiovascular diseases, such as stroke and ischaemic heart disease," read the March released report.

In the report, WHO reveals that deaths due to non-communicable diseases (NCDs) attributable to air pollution (including exposure to second-hand tobacco smoke), amount to as much as 8.2 million of these deaths.

"NCDs, such as stroke, heart disease, cancers and chronic respiratory disease, now amount to nearly two-thirds of the total deaths caused by unhealthy environments," it stated.

The South East Asia region is the most affected with 3.8 million deaths, followed by Western Pacific (3.5 million), then Africa with 2.2 million deaths every year: "Low- and middle-income countries bear the greatest environmental burden in all types of diseases and injuries, however for certain NCDs, such as cardiovascular diseases and cancers, the per capita disease burden can also be relatively high in high-income countries."

However, deaths from infectious diseases, such as diarrhoea and malaria, often related to poor water, sanitation and waste management have declined: "Increase in access to safe water and sanitation have been key contributors to this decline, alongside better access to immunization, insecticide-treated mosquito nets and essential medicines."

In Kenya, NCDs account for almost 100,000 annually with an expenditure of Sh8 billion in seeking cancer treatment.

Stroke was cited as the major killer with 2.5 million deaths, followed by Ischaemic heart disease – 2.3 million, unintentional injuries (such as road traffic deaths) – 1.7 million and cancers 1.7 million.

Others are chronic respiratory diseases (1.4 million) diarrhoeal diseases (846 000 deaths), respiratory infections (567 000 deaths), neonatal conditions (270 000 deaths) malaria (259 000 deaths) and intentional injuries (such as suicides) -246 000 deaths annually.

"Adoption of clean technologies and fuels for domestic cooking, heating and lighting would reduce acute respiratory infections, chronic respiratory diseases, cardiovascular diseases and burns," advised WHO.

It added: "Tobacco smoke-free legislation reduces exposure to second-hand tobacco smoke, and thereby also reduces cardiovascular diseases and respiratory infections."

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