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Chronic medical conditions — including cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes, and depression — cause more than half of all deaths worldwide.
These long-term diseases affect people of all ages, both rich and poor, in every ethnic group. Many chronic diseases have genetic components, which raise disease risk in certain people or populations. The environment can also contribute to risk, and so can lifestyle choices, including your diet, physical activity, and whether or not you smoke.
NIH’s long-term efforts to understand, treat, and prevent chronic diseases are helping to reduce the global burden of these conditions. To the right are just a few of the dozens of chronic diseases that NIH-funded research has helped to alleviate.
This page last reviewed on December 13, 2016