Non Communicable Diseases

Interaction of Diseases

Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity. Diseases can be classified into two groups:

  • Communicable: meaning that the disease can be transferred from one organism to another
  • Non-Communicable: meaning that the diseases cannot be transferred between organisms.

Diet, stress and life situations may have a profound effect on both physical and mental health.

If an individual has a diseases, they are more susceptible to contract other diseases because different types of diseases can interact with each other. For example, if someone had a weak immune system, then the individual is more likely to suffer from infectious diseases, or trigger allergies such as skin rashes and asthma. Viruses living in cells can be the trigger for cancers.

Severe physical ill health can lead to depression and other mental illness.

Costs of Non Communicable Diseases

When a person has a NCD, it will cost them a tremendous amount of money as they seek for medical help. This may affect their families as it becomes a large financial burden. Some countries (such as the UK) will provide healthcare for their own citizens, therefore the government could spend a lot of money. However, as the government spends a lot of money on a particular group of people, they will unfortunately have to neglect another group of people that may require support. The government has to pay out a lot of money to support their own citizens. Rather than simply paying the fees for their medical procedures and drugs, they also have to try and support the patients by helping them find jobs that are suitable for them.

Effect of Lifestyle Factors

Lifestyle Factor

Local effect

National effect

Global effect


Individual becomes reliant on drugs to lower cholesterol levels. The individual has to change their diet to support themselves

Government has to spend a lot of money to support those who need medical procedures.

Increase in obesity across the world - humans are consuming food quicker than the rate in which they are being produced.


Small amounts can help people to relax, but large amounts can affect the individual as they become out of control. This may lead problems in the liver and the brain

Government has to spend a lot of money to support those who need medical procedures.

More unhappy and broken families as alcoholics may affect the family structure. More people may become unemployed as they are not fit to work.


Individual may develop different types of cancer

Government has to spend a lot of money to support those who need medical procedures.

Second hand smoking can a lot of people. Government will make changes in cost of cigarettes as they amend the tax. Lower life expectancy throughout the world.

Risk Factors

Risk factors are linked to an increased rate of a disease.

  • Aspects of a person’s lifestyle
  • Substances in the person’s body or environment. A causal mechanism has been proven for some risk factors, but not in others.
  • The effects of diet, smoking and exercise on cardiovascular disease.
  • Obesity as a risk factor for Type 2 diabetes.
  • The effect of alcohol on the liver and brain function.
  • The effect of smoking on lung disease and lung cancer.
  • The effects of smoking and alcohol on unborn babies.
  • Carcinogens, including ionising radiation, as risk factors in cancer.

Many diseases are caused by the interaction of a number of factors.


The human body is constantly undergoing mitosis as it is needed to grow and replace old and damaged cells. Unfortunately, cells can start to divide uncontrollably, even when the body does not need them. The production of new cancerous cells may produce tumours.

Benign tumours are growths of abnormal cells which are contained in one area, usually within a membrane. They do not invade other parts of the body. Malignant tumour cells are cancers. They invade neighbouring tissues and spread to different parts of the body in the blood where they form secondary tumours. Scientists have identified lifestyle risk factors (as listed above) for various types of cancer. There are also genetic risk factors for some cancers.

What are the two types of cancer cells?
Your answer should include: Benign / Malignant
What is the risk factor for type 2 diabetes?
Your answer should include: Obesity / Poor / Diet