Chronic diseases are a global problem, and their numbers – since the last decades of the twentieth century – have increased significantly.
In Arab countries, changes in patterns of nutritional behavior and physical activity have led to developments in their rates and altitude. Chronic diseases in the Arab world pose a challenge to decision-makers and health and medical strategists.
Characteristics of chronic diseases:
It is not transmissible because it is not caused by bacteria or viruses. Her infection is usually silent, and the patient may not notice her until after complications start, such as high blood pressure. Linked to the nutritional and motor behavior of individuals and societies, for example, diabetes is associated with being overweight and obese, and respiratory diseases are linked to smoking.
Their treatment usually extends throughout the person’s life and not for a certain period. For example, a patient with high blood pressure needs to continue treatment until the end of his life. Treatment is usually expensive and includes potentially irritating stages, such as chemotherapy and radiotherapy for people with cancer.
Chronic diseases annually cause nearly 36 million deaths globally, and 80% of deaths occur in poor and developing countries. And nine million chronic disease deaths are people under the age of 60, and 90% of them are in poor and developing countries. Chronic disease deaths are distributed among their different groups as follows:
- Heart disease is responsible for 17.3 million deaths.
- Cancers 7.6 million.
- Respiratory disease 4.2 million.
- Diabetes 1.3 million.
- Using tobacco and its derivatives, such as smoking cigarettes and hookahs.
- Lack of motor activity.
- Eating an unhealthy diet.
- Alcohol abuse.
- Overweight and obesity.
- High blood sugar level.
- High level of fats in the blood.
WHO data indicate that risk factors contribute to the following percentages of chronic disease deaths:
- High blood pressure is responsible for 16.5% of all deaths from chronic diseases.
- Tobacco use: 9% of deaths.
- High blood sugar level: 6%.
- Lack of physical activity: 6%.
- Overweight and obesity: 5%.
- Not eating enough vegetables and fruits: 5% of deaths.
Effects of chronic diseases:
Reducing the quality of life for individuals. The nation’s loss of manpower as a result of premature deaths and disability caused by diseases.
The costs of healthcare for chronic diseases put pressure on state budgets, especially as the disease worsens and complications develop.
Reducing risk factors, such as taxing the tobacco industry to reduce smoking rates, and encouraging people to exercise. Providing primary health care to detect chronic diseases in their early stages before their development, and this leads to improving the quality of life for individuals and reducing the cost of posterior treatment, which will be greater when the disease escalates and its complications develop.
Extending the umbrella of health insurance to include chronic diseases, and it is estimated that health insurance in the developed world covers chronic diseases better than poor and developing countries by four times, and this explains the low rates of deaths resulting from these diseases in them and their rise in poor countries.