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        An NCD or Non-Communicable Disease is a non-infectious disease or medical condition. Noncommunicable diseases (NCDs), also known as chronic diseases, tend to be chronic (of long duration) diseases with slow progression and are the result of a combination of genetic, physiological, environmental and behaviors factors.

        NCDs disproportionately affect people in low- and middle-income countries where more than three quarters of global NCD deaths – 31 million – occur. More than 36 million people die annually from NCDs (63% of global deaths), including more than 14 million people who die too young between the ages of 30 and 70. Low- and middle-income countries already bear 90% of the burden of these premature deaths, which resulted in the cumulative economic losses of US$7 trillion over the next 15 years and millions of people trapped in poverty.

        According to WHO’s projections, the total annual number of deaths from noncommunicable diseases will increase to 55 million by 2030 if “business as usual” continues. Scientific knowledge demonstrates that the noncommunicable disease burden can be greatly reduced if cost-effective preventive and curative actions, together with interventions for prevention and control of noncommunicable diseases already available, are implemented in an effective and balanced manner.

As not in surprised, they are dubbed as “The World’s Biggest Killers”.


        There are four main types of noncommunicable diseases which are cardiovascular diseases (like heart attacks and stroke), cancers, chronic respiratory diseases (such as chronic obstructed pulmonary disease and asthma) and diabetes. According to World Health Organization (WHO), there was an estimated of 36 million deaths, or 63% of the 57 million deaths that occurred globally in 2008, were due to noncommunicable diseases, comprising mainly cardiovascular diseases (48% of noncommunicable diseases), cancers (21%), chronic respiratory diseases (12%) and diabetes (3.5%).

        Apart from that, these major noncommunicable diseases share four behavioral risk factors: tobacco use, eating unhealthy diet, physical inactivity (poor physical health) and hazardous consumption of alcoholic drink. These shared risks factors are also known as modifiable behavioral risk factors. They include age, gender, genetics, exposure to air pollution, and behaviors (lifestyles) which can lead to hypertension and obesity, in turn leading to increased risk of many NCDs. Because of these modifiable risk factors, most NCDs are considered preventable.

        Risk factors such as a person's background; lifestyle and environment are most known to increase the likelihood of certain non-communicable diseases. The World Health Report in 2002 has identified five important risk factors for non-communicable disease in the top ten leading risks to health.

These are contribute to the raised blood pressure, raised cholesterol, tobacco use, alcohol consumption, and overweight. The other factors associated with higher risk of NCDs include a person's economic and social conditions, also known as the "social determinants of health”.


        There are few key facts on the modifiable behavioral risk factors that had been listed out by the World Health Organization which include:

 Tobacco accounts for 7.2 million deaths every year (including from the effects of exposure to second-hand smoke), and is projected to increase markedly over the coming years.

 There are 4.1 million annual deaths have been attributed to excess salt/sodium intake.

 Besides that, more than half of the 3.3 million annual deaths attributable to alcohol use are from NCDs, including cancer.

 1.6 million deaths annually can be attributed to insufficient physical activity.

 Noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) kill 40 million people each year, equivalent to 70% of all deaths globally.

        Besides the modifiable behavioral risk factors, metabolic risk factors are also contribute to four key metabolic changes that increase the risk of NCDs such as the raised of blood pressure, overweight or obesity, hyperglycemia (high blood glucose levels) and hyperlipidemia (high levels of fat in the blood). In terms of attributable deaths, the leading metabolic risk factor globally is elevated blood pressure (to which 19% of global deaths are attributed), followed by overweight and obesity and raised blood glucose.

The flow chart of risk factors that lead to NCDs


There are few examples of NCDs diseases which are common as below:

 Alzheimer's

 Asthma

 Cataracts

 Chronic Kidney Disease

 Chronic Lung Disease

 Diabetes

 Fibromyalgia

 Heart Disease

 Hypertension (High Blood Pressure)

 Obesity

 Osteoporosis

 Stroke

 Cancer and several other cardiovascular diseases

Symptoms of Non Communicable Disease

        Signs and symptoms of non communicable diseases may be same. Sometimes it is even possible to have non communicable disease without having any visible signs or symptoms. Different diseases under non communicable diseases will have different symptoms. For example, cardiovascular diseases will have a symptoms of sudden chest pain, irregular heartbeats, and cardiac cycle disturbance and may have a sign of fever. As for cancers, the signs would be varied according to the type of cancers which include symptoms like baldness, weakness, fatigue, and others. While for Alzheimer’s disease, it would be almost similar to dementia where memory loss in people of around the age of 60 is common.


        Fighting NCDs can be started by us, the public. We can always start it from our own home and by individuals. It does not necessarily have to wait for the prevention measurements by the WHO, governments or agencies of our country. These are the measurement of prevention that us as the member of public can do and spread to the rest of the community. Although we cannot solve or cure the problem, we can always prevent it from happening. It will take time but eventually if everyone is cooperating in fighting these, it will show positiveness.

        Here are few natural prevention that we can do:

 Do take and make your own time for exercising. Physical activity naturally helps to remove disease-causing toxins through sweat. It also prevents cardiovascular disease, respiratory problems and reduces the risk of cancer and diabetes. It is recommended for an individual to perform at least 30 minutes of exercise.

 If possible, eat foods high in lecithin. Lecithin is a potent substance that regulates cell nutrients. It helps to maintain an ideal body weight and helps to prevent the body from accumulating unnecessary fat. Foods which are rich in lecithin include soybeans, grains, legumes and peanuts.

 In terms of food consumption, have something which are high in antioxidants. The active ingredients of antioxidants are called flavonoid. These substances keep the brain healthy and prevent cancer and other non-communicable diseases. Foods rich in antioxidants include cranberries, dried prunes, plums and pinto beans.

 Just like the body, the brain also needs a little exercises. Train the brain by playing video games ,solving Sudoku or crosswords puzzles or even by playing chess everyday can help exercise the brain and prevent memory loss and deterioration. Performing these activities on a daily basis will improve all of the regions of the brain.

 If the body cannot do rigid exercises, try to do yoga or tai chi every day. Yoga and tai chi are considered as exercises by using slow movements. They help to strengthen the mind and body. It prevents lifestyle diseases, especially cardiovascular and respiratory illnesses. They can also relieve symptoms of diseases once they manifest. The recommended time for doing these activities would be from an hour to two hours per day.

        With all these prevention measurements, always remember to consult your doctor before starting on any on natural methods to prevent noncommunicable diseases.



        According to Datuk Seri Dr S. Subramaniam (Minister of Health Malaysia), the NCD situation in Malaysia is like that of an epidemic and must be dealt with like any Public Health Emergency. Whereby, Dato’ Seri Dr Chen Chaw Min (Secretary General Ministry of Health Malaysia) stated that facts and figures from the latest population-based health survey known as the National Health and Morbidity Survey (NHMS) in 2015 showed that the prevalence of NCD risk factors continue to rise. Malaysia now have an estimated 3.5 million adult living with diabetes, 6.1 million with hypertension, 9.6 million with hypercholesterolemia and 3.3 million with obesity.

        The number of this rapidly increased in NCDs is quite alarming and becomes one of the biggest challenges to the current healthcare system in Malaysia. It is not only the business of Ministry of Health alone, it eventually has to be everyone’s business since the effect will be a burden to our country.

        According to the Director General of Health Malaysia, Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah, the number of people with NCDs such as diabetes, hypertension, cancers, and heart diseases keeps growing bringing the ‘Health of the Nation’ to a critical crossroad. NCDs are the leading cause of death and morbidity among adults in Malaysia, and have resulted in heavy emotional as well as financial toll on all of us. The increasing medical costs to treat patients with NCDs is of serious concern. If the trend of NCDs continues to rise, healthcare costs will not only be unsustainable, but the human costs would also be unimaginable.

        As of 2017, it is estimated that 73% of the total deaths in Malaysia were due to noncommunicable diseases (NCDs), and half of those were caused by cardiovascular diseases. Deputy Health Minister Dr Hilmi Yahaya said, based on data from the National Health and Morbidity Survey (NHMS), it could be assumed that the prevalence of NCD risk factors continued to rise and was a worrying trend for the country.

        Meanwhile, Sultan of Perak, Sultan Nazrin Shah said rates of NCDs including heart disease, diabetes, respiratory illnesses and cancer had increased considerably across the region in recent decades, where South-east Asia now had the fastest rising NCD rates in the world. The Royal Highness also emphasized on by saying that greater efforts must now also be focused on addressing other aspects of the NCD epidemic.


        The govenment has presented the latest edition on National Strategic Plan for Non-Communicable Diseases (NSP-NCD) 2016-2025. It is a continuation of the previous NSPNCD 2010-2014. This Strategic Plan is evidence of the commitment of the Government in reducing the burden of Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) in Malaysia. The main focus of this Strategic Plan is the three types of NCDs which are cardiovascular diseases, diabetes and cancer, and on four shared NCD risk factors such as tobacco use, unhealthy diet, physical inactivity and harmful use of alcohol.

        The NSP-NCD 2016-2025 has five main objectives, based on the Global Action Plan for the Prevention and Control of NCDs 2013-2020. Under each of the objectives, there are few things that will be done:

1. To strengthen national capacity, leadership, governance, multi-sectoral action and partnerships to accelerate country response for the prevention and control of NCDs.

2. To reduce modifiable risk factors for NCDs and underlying social determinants through creation of health-promoting environments.

3. To strengthen and orient health systems to address the prevention and control of NCDs and the underlying social determinants through people-centred primary health care and universal health coverage.

4. To promote and support national capacity for high-quality research and development for the prevention and control of NCDs.

5. To monitor the trends and determinants of NCDs and evaluate progress in their prevention and control.

NCD Targets for Malaysia 2025


        Non communicable diseases should be seen as a danger crisis that leave severe effect to one’s nation. Most of the premature deaths due to Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) are largely preventable by influencing public policies in sectors outside of health that tackle the shared risk factors, namely tobacco use, unhealthy diet, physical inactivity and harmful use of alcohol. NCDs are now well studied and understood by Malaysians. Many studies have been published on the impact of various population-based interventions to reduce the burden of NCDs in many countries.

        By having the NSP-NCD 2016-2025, it is with full hope that this plan will be able to serve and provide a roadmap for all relevant stakeholders in Malaysia to reduce the preventable and avoidable burden of morbidity, mortality and disability due to NCDs by year 2025. This plan can be achieved through the collaboration and cooperation from multisectoral at national and state levels. It is also will work well if the public are aware of the dangers of NCDs. It is hoped that Malaysia population would reach the highest attainable standards of health and productivity at every age and NCDs are no longer be the barrier to our well-being and helping to reduce the negatively impacts on Malaysia’s socioeconomic development.


GBD 2015 Risk Factors Collaborators. Global, regional, and national comparative risk assessment of 79 behavioral, environmental and occupational, and metabolic risks or clusters of risks, 1990–2015: a systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2015. Lancet, 2016; 388(10053):1659-1724

Global Action Plan for the Prevention and Control of NCDs 2013-2020; Appendix 2, available at

Mathers CD, Loncar D. PLoS Medicine. 2006 Nov 28; 209–224.

Projections of Global Mortality and Burden of Disease from 2002 to 2030.

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