Non-Communicable Diseases

A non-communicable disease is not passed from one organism to another. They are not infectious.

They can be:

  • Inherited – some people carry a gene that predisposes them to some conditions (e.g. some cancers)
  • Caused by lifestyle factors including: a poor diet, lack of exercise, overexposure to the sun, misuse of drugs

Sugary donuts

Poor diet

Eating too much sugar and fat can cause obesity. Obesity can cause cardiovascular diseases and Type 2 diabetes. It can also mean the individual is not getting a balanced diet and is missing out on essential vitamins and minerals.

Misuse of drugs - alcohol

Many people drink alcohol in moderation and are unlikely to suffer serious harm.

Binge drinking can cause harm to the individual and others. Binge drinking is when a large amount of alcohol is consumed over a short period of time.

Drinking alcohol excessively over a long period of time can damage the liver and other organs.

Drinking heavily during pregnancy can cause serious brain damage to the foetus, known as foetal alcohol syndrome.

Misuse of drugs - tobacco

Cigarette substance Harmful effect
Tar Causes bronchitis (narrowing of the bronchi and bronchioles).
Causes emphysema (alveolar damage reducing the surface area of gas exchange).
Causes lung cancer (abnormal cell division).
Nicotine Addictive and affects heart rate.
Carbon monoxide Combines with red blood cells reducing their oxygen carrying capacity.

Smoking bans have been effective at reducing passive smoking and encouraging people to stop smoking.

E-cigarettes are also helping people to stop smoking. However, some people argue that the inclusion of nicotine can encourage some to start smoking.