The Global Burden of Disease Study 2013 revealed that as life expectancy increases, the incidence of non-fatal diseases and injuries is on the rise.
The Global Burden of Disease Study gathers data regarding the patterns and trends of health parameters and disease conditions. Funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the information provided by the study is useful for governments and policy makers to decide on budget allocations and make plans for providing health services to the population.
The Global Burden of Disease Study 2013 compiled data for acute and chronic diseases
and injuries, and years living with disability (YLD) from 188 countries between 1990 and 2013. YLD takes into account health issues that cause pain, decreased mobility, hearing loss and vision loss, but are not fatal.
The study evaluated 301 diseases and injuries and their 2337 sequelae. Data was obtained through several sources like systematic reviews, household surveys, hospital discharges and publications.
The study revealed some interesting facts:
Fifty-nine chronic diseases and injuries had a global prevalence of greater than 1%, but these were not associated with much disability. Eight of these affected more than 10% of the population. These were dental caries without pain,
a) Tension-type headaches,
b) Iron-deficiency anemia,
c) Glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase deficiency trait,
d) Hearing loss,
e) Asymptomatic genital herpes,
g) and Ascariasis (a round worm infestation).
A detailed look at the list will reveal that among chronic diseases, non-communicable diseases are becoming more common than infectious diseases.
Acute cases of diarrhea and upper respiratory tract infection
continue to be common with over 2 billion cases in the year 2013.
The incidence of dental caries is astonishing. More than 200 million people suffered from tooth pain due to permanent caries. Chronic cases with permanent caries but no pain were present in 2.4 billion people. Dental caries can be easily prevented by educating the patient on proper teeth-cleaning measures. This patient education can be carried out at the primary level.
The number of ailments that a person suffered from also increased in the past few years. And multiple ailments are no longer a problem of the older population but is also affecting the young. This reflects the decreasing quality of health in young and middle-aged individuals.
The global life expectancy has increased from 65.3 years in 1990 to 71.5 years in 2013. Though the number of deaths is reducing, the number of non-fatal illnesses and injuries is increasing, which puts a larger burden on the healthcare system.
The number of years lived with disability (YLD) increased significantly from 537·6 million in 1990 to 764·8 million in 2013. This is a direct consequence of increased life expectancy, which brings with it diseases associated with aging. People are living longer and therefore suffering from more diseases.
The most common causes of YLD in 2013 were low back pain and major depressive disorder. Other common conditions contributing significantly to YLD were neck pain and other musculoskeletal disorders, iron-deficiency anemia, hearing loss, migraine, COPD, anxiety disorders and diabetes. HIV/AIDS was a leading cause of increasing YLDs in sub-Saharan Africa.
Thus, the aim of the health care policies should be directed not only at - live long but also - live healthy. A number of conditions that are associated with YLD can be prevented. Thus, the governments should direct their resources to these ailments to reduce the global burden of disease.
Global Burden of Disease Study 2013 Collaborators. Global, regional, and national incidence, prevalence, and years lived with disability for 301 acute and chronic diseases and injuries in 188 countries, 1990-2013: a systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2013. www.thelancet.com Published Online June 8, 2015 http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(15)60692-4