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Affluenza – The neglected diseases

Experts in 55 countries have put forward a paper that states the alarming fact that an estimated 388 million people could die over the next 10 years from the silent killers – hypertension, diabetes, heart diseases and obesity.

Often called as “Affluenza” or diseases in the affluent society in developed countries, these diseases are also an emerging threat to developing nations. 60% of preventable deaths and 44% premature deaths occur due to these diseases. While all research has been focusing on infectious diseases like Tuberculosis, Malaria and HIV-AIDS, these silent killers are being neglected. The WHO has in fact been spending less than 4% of funds on these diseases and often they are branded as an individual’s problem.

Consider this fact. In the next ten years it will cost 33 billion dollars, 237 billion dollars and 558 billion dollars respectively to UK, China and India in lost productivity due to these diseases. Corrective measures have been propounded by experts and include measures to discourage smoking, alcohol consumption, and unhealthy foods, lessening negative impacts of poverty and urbanization on health and moving healthcare towards prevention rather than cure. In developing countries more of time is consumed towards tackling the infectious diseases that no one cares for the silent killers. Implementing the ideas proposed by the report can help save 36 million lives by 2015.

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