Noncommunicable diseases (NCDs), also known as chronic diseases, affect all age groups over a prolonged time; they are the result of the combination of several factors: genetic, physiological, environmental and behavioral. The most prevalent NCDs worldwide are cardiovascular diseases (heart attack, stroke, among others), diabetes, cancer and respiratory diseases. Globally, NCDs cause 41 million deaths every year, which represent 71% of total deaths.
There were 703,047 registries of death among the Mexican population in 2017, according to the National Institute of Statistics and Geography (INEGI); 17,281more than in 2016 (685,766 registries). NCDs were the main mortality causes in 2016 and 2017, being cardiovascular diseases, diabetes and malignant tumors the three main causes of death in the country.
Cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) continue to be the first cause of death in Mexico, with 141,619 deceases registered in 2017, in comparison with 136,342 of 2016. From these, deaths by ischemic heart diseases rose in respect to 2016, from 97,743 to 101,877. In second place, 106,525 deaths were caused by diabetes in 2017, which slightly increased from 105,572 in 2016. Malignant tumors are on the third place with 84,142 deaths registered in 2017 (with 82,502 registered in 2016).
The first three places are maintained in the population over 65 years. However, diabetes is the main cause of death in the 45 to 65 age group. This occurs in both sexes, and is followed by CVDs and liver diseases in men, and by malignant tumors and CVDs in women.
Overall, in the total population from 35 to 44 years, the three main causes of death are aggressions, malignant tumors and accidents. Nevertheless, malignant tumors, diabetes and CDVs are the three main causes of death in women of this age group. In men, CVDs, diabetes and malignant tumors occupy the 4th, 5th and 6th place, respectively. It is worth mentioning that less women of this age group die (12,931) in comparison with men (31,394).
Finally, malignant tumors, CVDs and diabetes represent the 3rd, 4th and 8th causes of death in the population aged 25 to 34 years. However, CVDs represent the 3rd place in men, while malignant tumors take the 6th place; in women, malignant tumors are the 1st cause of death, while diabetes is the 5th. In this age group, deceases continue to be higher in men (25,547) than in women (7,617).
Noncommunicable diseases represent a significant number of deaths in Mexico. In order to prevent NCDs, risk factors must be addressed: stop tobacco use, limit excess sodium/salt and alcohol consumption, be regularly active and follow a healthy diet. These actions decrease the risk of being overweight or obese, having hypertension, high blood sugar, high levels of cholesterol or triglycerides, which are closely related to the main NCDs.
These risk factors must be reduced to lower the impact of NCDs on the population health. It is important to develop an action plan with a comprehensive approach, which involves all stakeholders, including from health, economic, labor, transport, education and food sectors, among others. Likewise, early detection and treatment are a long-term investment to safeguard the health and quality of life of those at risk of developing NCDs.
Instituto Nacional de Estadística y Geografía. Mortalidad. Tabulados predefinidos Defunciones Generales: 14. Principales causas de mortalidad por residencia habitual, grupos de edad y sexo del fallecido. Available from: https://www.inegi.org.mx/programas/mortalidad/
Organización Mundial de la Salud. Enfermedades no transmisibles. Available from: https://www.who.int/es/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/noncommunicable-diseases