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State of Alaska

Chronic Diseases

Chronic diseases, such as cancer, heart disease, and diabetes are leading causes of death and disability among Alaska's population.
  • The burden of chronic disease is high for those who have them and is manifested in pain, suffering, disabilities, and death.
  • The impact of chronic disease to society has been demonstrated by looking at the increase in public and private expenditures.
In 2013, cancer was the leading cause of death in Alaska accounting for 25.3% of all deaths, followed closely by heart disease deaths at 17.6%.1

According to the data from the Alaska's Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) in 20142:
  • 29.0% of adults ages 18 and over had been diagnosed by a doctor with arthritis.
  • 8.4% of participants currently had asthma.
  • 9.2% were told that they had diabetes.
  • Approximately two-thirds (65.8%) of survey participants were either overweight or obese.


Research suggests that in addition to individual biology, lifestyle behaviors play an integral part in chronic illness in a population. According the World Health Organization (WHO) Global Status Report on Noncommunicable Diseases 2014,3 risk factors for chronic illness include:
  • tobacco use
  • harmful use of alcohol
  • raised blood pressure (or hypertension)
  • raised cholesterol
  • overweight/obesity
  • unhealthy diet
  • raised blood glucose


Research has shown that chronic disease risk reduction can be addressed through evidence-based strategies that promote healthy lifestyles based on non-smoking, good nutrition, regular physical activity, acceptable BMI, and low/moderate alcohol intake. Preventive care practices, timely affective care and appropriate disease management have been shown to be effective in reducing the incidence and progression of various chronic conditions. In addition to reducing behavioral risk factors, the impact of environmental and occupational risk factors should also be explored.

The information provided above is from the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services' Center for Health Data and Statistics, Alaska Indicator-Based Information System for Public Health (Ak-IBIS) web site (http://ibis.dhss.alaska.gov). The information published on this website may be reproduced without permission. Please use the following citation: " Retrieved Mon, 20 November 2017 from Alaska Department of Health and Social Services, Center for Health Data and Statistics, Alaska Indicator-Based Information System for Public Health web site: http://ibis.dhss.alaska.gov ".

Content updated: Wed, 24 May 2017 08:45:12 AKDT
The information provided above is from the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services' Center for Health Data and Statistics AK-IBIS web site (http://ibis.dhss.alaska.gov/). The information published on this website may be reproduced without permission. Please use the following citation: " Retrieved Mon, 20 November 2017 8:26:09 from Alaska Department of Health and Social Services, Center for Health Data and Statistics, Indicator-Based Information System for Public Health Web site: http://ibis.dhss.alaska.gov/ ".

Content updated: Wed, 24 May 2017 08:45:12 AKDT