Chronic Cost of Chronic Disease
US$47 Trillion. That's 47 million million or 47 thousand billion, as in $47,000,000,000,000.
An unimaginable sum. But real. It represents the global estimated cost of treating the five most common, Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) -- cancer, diabetes, heart disease, lung disease, and mental health disorders between now and 2030.
To put this astronomical $47 trillion figure into perspective, consider the fact that the current US national debt is 'just' under $15 trillion.
In other words, the entire global gross domestic product (GDP), which represents the final value of all goods and services produced, was $63 trillion in 2010. Based on WEF figures, global treatment costs for the "big five" non-communicable diseases will represent a shocking 75% of the current global GDP by 2030.
In fact ,according to a new report released by the World Economic Forum (WEF) ,experts warn that if nothing is done to curb this escalating healthcare crisis, the global economy will most certainly collapse due to insurmountable financial insolvency.
Olivier Raynaud, senior director of health at the WEF said: “Until now, we've been unable to put a figure on what the World Health Organisation (WHO) calls the 'world's biggest killers.' This study shows that families, countries and economies are losing people in their most productive years. The numbers indicate that non-communicable diseases have the potential to not only bankrupt health systems but to also put a brake on the global economy. Tackling this issue calls for joint action by all actors of the public and private sectors."
Let’s look at some more numbers quoted by the WHO:
- NCDs are responsible for roughly 36 million fatalities worldwide every year.
- The loss in terms of life-years and productivity is staggering, since about 9 million of these deaths occur among men and women under the age of 60.
- According to Dr. Gordon Tomaselli, president of the American Heart Association: "If current trends continue, well before the middle of this century NCSs will be responsible for more than three-quarters of the deaths around the world."
- Heart disease currently accounts for the lion's share of these deaths: 48%
- A little more than one in five NCDs are due to cancer
- Respiratory illness is linked to slightly more than one in 10 fatalities.
- Diabetes claims the lives of 3 % of NCD patients.
- Poorer countries are often hardest hit by such diseases: their citizens bear a three times greater risk for dying from a NCD before the age of 60, compared with residents of richer nations.
- However, some of those ‘richer nations’ don’t fare much better! In the US for example, NCDs account for 87% of all deaths. Not coincidentally, the US is increasingly weighted down by an obesity epidemic, a largely inactive population (with a 43% sedentary rate), a 16% smoking rate, and markedly rising blood pressure and glucose levels.
These alarming figures have prompted the United Nations in New York to invite health experts and leaders from 193 nations City to discuss strategies to lower the death toll.
"This will be the first time that the United Nations has actually focused on the major killer of most people," said Dr. Otis Brawley, chief medical officer for the American Cancer Society.
"We need this," he added. "We need a chronic disease movement. We need to drive attention toward overall health. Because cancer, for example, kills more people in the world than HIV/AIDS, malaria
"And the impact of the growing prevalence of non-communicable diseases is not only on the medical health, but the economic health of all nations, in direct care costs and that of lost productivity,"
The World Health Organization for example offered several steps that could help avert the impact of these NCDs. They include alcohol and tobacco taxes, smoke-free environments, and public-service campaigns to get people to cut down on their consumption of salt and trans fats.
Thankfully the experts also noted what we have been saying for years: that NCDS share many preventable risk factors, such as poor diet, insufficient exercise habits, smoking and alcohol abuse.
We applaud all their efforts.
So while the summit will be shooting to achieve an ambitious but tangible goal: to curtail unhealthy behaviours and shave 25% off the global death rate from non-communicable diseases by 2025, we at Xtend-life will continue to stress the importance of maintaining a balanced healthy and active lifestyle, with particular focus on a whole food-based nutrient dense diet.
Thank you for taking responsibility for your most precious asset: your health by supporting us!