11 Oct 2010 08:57 AM

An official with the World Health Organization, Dr Shin Young-soo announced Sunday that the Western Pacific is seeing an increase in NCDs, and that these NCDs are responsible for 75 percent of deaths in the region.

Our own region is far from immune to NCDs. Here is what you need to know about them and ways to prevent them from affecting yourself and your family.

NCD stands for Non-communicable disease. This refers to diseases that cannot be caught from another person or object contaminated by germs. Heart disease, cancer (although some cancers have been associated with viruses), stroke and diabetes are general forms of NCDs. NCDs are also called lifestyle diseases because they can usually be prevented or at least curbed by living healthy lifestyles.

NCDs are usually attributed to such lifestyle choices as smoking, unhealthy diets and lack of exercise. So the best way to prevent NCDs are by choosing healthy practices. Seems simple, right? But as we all know, it is harder than it might seem on paper.

Quitting smoking is tough to do, exercise is hard to fit in to a busy day, and a healthy diet often requires both time and enough of a food budget to sustain it on a regular basis. Unhealthy convenience foods are both quick and cheap, often tasty, and require less work to prepare. Even the best of us rely far too much on them.

But when the going gets tough, think about this. Not only will a healthy lifestyle help you live longer, you will also live better, with more energy and less aches and pains. And while better food may cost a bit more, it is still much cheaper than the long term health care costs that are required with many NCDs. Quitting smoking has an immediate financial benefit.

Arm yourself against NCDs starting today.

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