World Health Organization
The term noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) has entered the vocabulary of policy makers, ministries of health, some medical professionals, and health workers: it is time that it now also becomes a by-word for all those working in the stroke field whether as researchers or clinicians. NCDs are a group of diseases, which by definition is noninfectious and nontransmissible (as opposed to communicable diseases). Stroke is part of the core cluster of major NCDs, which include cardiovascular disease, diabetes mellitus, cancer, and chronic pulmonary diseases. Stroke shares risk factors with the other major NCDs, including tobacco use, unhealthy diet, and physical inactivity. Stroke also shares an important principle: these diseases are potentially preventable to a large extent, and highly cost-effective interventions are available for prevention.
The recent Global Burden of Disease (GBD) Study 2010 showed major shifts from communicable diseases toward NCDs from 1990 to 2010 related to the aging population, decreased children mortality, changes in cause-of-death composition, and changes in risk factor exposures. There are 16.9 million incident strokes worldwide, twice as many stroke survivors, and 5.9 million deaths from stroke. Overall stroke ranks third among causes of death …