Basics * Non-infectious diseases (NIDs) are diseases NOT caused by a pathogen. They are also referred to as non-communicable diseases (NIDs). * Ex. include cancer, Parkinson’s and asthma. * A variety of causes contribute to NIDs including genetics, lifestyle choices, and nutrition. Two types of NIDs * NIDs are divided into 2 main groups: * Genetic diseases are caused by mutations in DNA or conditions affecting chromosomes. * Environmental diseases are caused by avoidable and unavoidable environmental factors.
* Many diseases, such as cancer, are believed to be caused by genetic and environmental factors. Genetic Diseases * Many diseases/conditions are caused by genetic conditions. * Down’s syndrome is caused by an extra copy of chromosome 21 * Cystic Fibrosis is caused by a mutation on the X chromosome Environmental Diseases * Environmental diseases are cause by a variety of factors, some of which are avoidable, like a high fat diet, and others which are not, like various forms of radiation.
* Heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, and obesity are all cause in part by avoidable factors. * Skin cancer is caused almost exclusively by overexposure to the sun. Multiple Factors * Some diseases are clearly linked to both environmental and genetic factors. * Cancer is the most well known of such diseases. * Some types of cancer are almost exclusively caused by environmental factors (skin), others by genetics (breast) while others have an unclear mixture of the two (lung). Treatment of NIDs.
* The majority of NIDs cannot be ‘cured’ but often the can be treated and the effects of their symptoms can be maintained. * The combination of genetic and environmental causes makes diseases like cancer incomprehensibly difficult to cure. * Conditions like Down’s syndrome are present in every cell of the body and are likewise very difficult to treat or cure. Preventing NIDs * While many NIDs have no cure, there are many things you can do to minimize your chances of acquiring them. * Get plenty of exercise * Eat a balanced and healthy diet.
* Don’t do drugs, tobacco, or alcohol * Go to doctor and dentist regularly * Minimize exposure to other risk factors The Impact of NIDs * Historically infectious diseases were responsible for the majority of deaths around the world. * However, as vaccine research and technology improved in developed countries, NIDs ( heart disease, cancer, etc ) became increasingly more responsible for these deaths. * In undeveloped countries, infectious diseases still account for many diseases but deaths from NIDs are on the rise.