Non-communicable Diseases in Costa Rica

No place in the world is exempt from suffering from some type of disease derived from many factors such as climate change, the country’s socio-sanitary conditions, household hygiene, the consumption of alcoholic beverages, and cigarettes, among many other reasons.

Some of them have a high incidence and others an important prevalence. Chronic diseases have more to do with prevalence quantity because they continue for an amount of time and have a high cost.

For the year 2018, the World Health Organization affirmed that of the total deaths, 83% are due to non-communicable diseases. In the same way, they indicated that cardiometabolic diseases are the main cause of death in the country, followed by cancer and thirdly, injuries caused externally.

Between 1990 and 2016, Costa Rica experienced a representative increase in its life expectancy that today exceeds 80 years. However, this advance also brought with it important challenges for national public health, which are currently represented in a growing number of people with chronic non-communicable diseases (CNCD), in which cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular and respiratory problems stand out. as those with the highest incidence and mortality.

According to studies carried out, it is revealed that the main causes of mortality in the population have varied somewhat.

Some of those that continue to stand out are ischemic heart disease, which is caused by the accumulation of fat in the arteries and prevents the passage of blood to the heart. ; Alzheimer’s, related to the gradual loss of memory; obstructive pulmonary disease in charge of hindering the flow of air from the lungs and, finally, cerebrovascular problems that can cause a stroke to a disability.

To this list must be added to stomach cancer and chronic kidney problems. The latter has a growing trend, as it is a disease that combines other risk factors such as diabetes and hypertension.

All of these diseases mentioned are driven by 100% modifiable behavioral risk factors.

Among those risk factors that promote it are; overweight and obesity, alcohol consumption, drugs, and the risks associated with the type of diet.

These elements make us lose years of a healthy life. By 2012, Costa Rica had a diabetes prevalence of 10.8% and in 2014 it was 12.8. In arterial hypertension, we have 36% of adults living with the disease. As for dyslipidemias (problems of the body to metabolize lipids or fats), there is a quarter of the population living with this problem.

These risk factors that promote these diseases are easy to avoid by modifying your lifestyle and doing it more healthily.

Cancer situation in our country

Cancer is one of the diseases that stand out the most. Gastric cancer in Costa Rica has the highest cases in the region of Central America and Mexico and is also currently the second cause of death in the country.

Next, colon cancer has had an increasing trend during the last three decades, and that allows Costa Rica to be equated with developed countries in terms of the incidence of this disease. Likewise, lung cancer has increasing numbers, probably due to harmful exposures that patients experienced about 30 years ago with few occupational health protections for the respiratory tract.

As for breast cancer, its growing trend is not different from countries to first world countries. Almost 1,000 cases of patients with this pathology are registered annually.

In the case of men, prostate cancer is directly related to the aging of the population, which has one of the best survival figures in Central America at the national level.

Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) is the one that presents the greatest challenges for Costa Rica. La Caja registers a hospitalization rate of 112.9 per 100,000 inhabitants. High blood pressure, diabetes, dyslipidemias, inappropriate use of drugs, among others encourages the onset of the disease.

Referring to other types of diseases we have the neurodegenerative ones, and in this sense, we have Multiple Sclerosis (MS), in addition to Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. This disorder implies another of the great challenges since the country does not yet have a policy that allows its approach at the first level of care, according to specialists.

Costa Rica has considerably strengthened access and quality to health services, but it still needs to improve inaccessibility, in more advanced medicines and cutting-edge surgical techniques.

Having good health represents a challenge that starts from our responsibility, adopting healthy cultures for good living and on the other hand the importance of the implementation of sustainable health policies and easy access to the population

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