Tags: longevity | disease | rates | rising

People Living Longer But Sicker: Study

By    |   Monday, 08 June 2015 12:41 PM

A new global report card on public health finds people everywhere are living longer but that longevity is also bringing higher rates of nonfatal diseases and injuries, including diabetes and hearing loss.

The report, based on an analysis of 301 diseases and injuries in 188 countries, used a measurement known as years lived with disability, or YLDs, to gauge the impact of health problems that impair mobility, hearing, or vision, or cause pain in some way but aren't fatal.

In 2013, low back pain and major depressive disorder were among the 10 leading causes of YLDs in every country. Other leading causes globally included neck pain, anxiety disorders, migraine headaches, and diabetes. The researchers said all are taking an increased toll on health due to population growth and aging.

The study – the first to examine the extent, pattern, and trends of nonfatal health loss across countries – was published in The Lancet by an international consortium of researchers led by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington.

"Many countries around the world have made great progress in addressing fatal diseases, but nonfatal illnesses pose the next major threat in terms of disease burden," said lead researcher Theo Vos. "This need to meet the challenge of nonfatal diseases and injuries only becomes more urgent as the population increases and people live longer."

Among the findings, which tracked health trends between 1990 and 2013:

• YLDs increased globally from 537.6 million in 1990 to 764.8 million in 2013 for both sexes.
• Men and women share the same leading causes of YLDs, with the exception of schizophrenia as a leading cause for men and other musculoskeletal disorders for women.
• Musculoskeletal disorders, mental and substance use disorders, neurological disorders, and chronic respiratory conditions were the main drivers of YLDs in 2013.
• The rates of both low back pain and depression have increased more than 50 percent since 1990.
• The number of people who suffered from 10 or more ailments increased by 52 percent.
• The impact of YLDs increases with age, but of the 2.3 billion people who suffered from more than five ailments, 81 percent were younger than 65 years old.

"What ails you isn't necessarily what kills you," noted IHME Director Christopher Murray, M.D. "As nonfatal illnesses and related ailments affect more people of all ages, countries must look closely at health policies and spending to target these conditions."

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People are living longer but that longevity is also bringing higher rates of nonfatal diseases and injuries, including diabetes and hearing loss.
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Monday, 08 June 2015 12:41 PM
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