“Policy makers are beginning to recognise that an epidemiologic transformation is occurring all over the world. This transformation, which began in high-income countries, has now spread to middle- and low-income countries. The change is from a prevalence of infectious disease, to one of acute illnesses, and now to chronic conditions”. (Non-Communicable Chronic Diseases in Latin America and the Caribbean)
Research has shown that during the last century, the incidence of and the mortality rate associated with chronic disease, has by far surpassed that of infectious disease and is most rampant in those countries that are developed and are developing. Barbados, classified as one of the more progressive islands in the Caribbean, has not been spared, and now records 68% (PAHO) of chronic non-communicable diseases amongst its populace, both young and old.
Chronic diseases are conditions that are recurrent. They can be classified as being either communicable, those which can be spread via an acute infectious process, or non-communicable, those which cannot be passed from person to person. Although extensive, the diseases of most concern are hypertension, respiratory disease, heart disease, stroke, diabetes and cancer. These are effected by factors such as high blood cholesterol, high blood pressure, high blood sugar, alcohol abuse, smoking, physical inactivity and the high incidence of obesity. Statistics show that, “Of the 190,000 Barbadians aged 20 years and older, 90,000 are overweight, 38,000 suffer from hypertension or high blood pressure, 19,000 are diabetic, and one person suffers a stroke every day”. Dr. Hennis, Head of the Chronic Disease Research Centre.
In recent times, chronic non-communicable diseases have been referred to as Lifestyle diseases to emphasize the point that one’s lifestyle and quality thereof either increases or reduces their chance of developing such a disease. Chronic non-communicable diseases may cause severe pain and...
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