The world health report 1997: conquering suffering; enriching humanity
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Dramatic increases in life expectancy, combined with dramatic changes in lifestyles, are leading to global epidemics of cancer and other chronic diseases. These will cause a huge increase in human suffering and disability in the coming decades. Already chronic diseases kill more than 24 million people a year--equal to almost half of all death worldwide. A steadily ageing global population means that there are more opportunities over time for these diseases to progress to a deadly or disabling stage in a larger number of people. This report focuses on major chronic noncommunicable diseases such as cancer and heart disease, diabetes and rheumatic conditions, and mental and neurological disorders. It shows that the bonuses of an increasing life span are in danger of being outweighed by the burden of chronic diseases. Meanwhile, the threat of infectious diseases continues, so tat the battle for health must be fought simultaneously on both these fronts. The report by WHO examines and explains the causes of these diseases, and highlights the main risk factors in their development --from genetic influences to the role of unhealty lifestyles. In each are the report identifies priorities for action in terms of prevention, treatment, cure and rehabilitation. It also offers individuals the best available advice on protecting teir own healh. It explains what WHO is doing in this crucial field, as well as reviewing WHO's work in general. The report is indispensable reading for all those with a political, professional or personal interest in health
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