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We often complain about some or the other health issues like headaches, stress,cold and cough but people like us amount to over 95% of the world population. Looking at such a high number, one might think how many people in the world would be totally disease free. Analysis from the Global Burden of Disease Study (GBD) 2013, revealed that only 1 in 20 people worldwide had no health problems in 2013 when 2.3 billion people people in the world who account to nearly one third of the world population had more than five ailments.
Moreover, worldwide, the proportion of lost years of healthy life (disability-adjusted life years; DALYS ) due to illness (rather than death) rose from around a fifth (21 percent) in 1990 to almost a third (31 percent) in 2013. As the world's population grows, and the proportion of elderly people increases, the number of people living in suboptimum health is set to rise rapidly over coming decades, warn the authors.
Lead author and University of Washington Professor Theo Vos said that the fact that mortality has been declining faster than non-fatal disease and injury prevalence is further evidence of the importance of paying attention to the rising health loss from these leading causes of disability, and not simply focusing on reducing mortality.
The GBD 2013 Disease and Injury Incidence and Prevalence Collaborators analysed 35 620 sources of information on disease and injury from 188 countries between 1990 and 2013 to reveal the substantial toll of disabling disorders and the overall burden on health systems from 301 acute and chronic diseases and injuries, as well as 2337 health consequences (sequelae) that result from one or more of these disorders.
Key findings include:
In 2013, low back pain and major depression ranked among the top ten greatest contributors to disability in every country, causing more health loss than diabetes, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and asthma combined.
Worldwide, the number of individuals with several illnesses rapidly increased both with age and in absolute terms between 1990 and 2013. Furthermore, the number of individuals with more than ten disorders increased by 52 percent between 1990 and 2013.
Eight causes of chronic disorders-mostly non-communicable diseases-affected more than 10 percent of the world population in 2013: cavities in permanent teeth (2.4 billion), tension-type headaches (1.6 billion), iron-deficiency anaemia (1.2 billion), glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase deficiency trait (1.18 billion), age-related hearing loss (1.23 billion), genital herpes (1.12 billion), migraine (850 million), and ascariasis (800 million; giant intestinal roundworm).
The number of years lived with disability increased over the last 23 years due to population growth and ageing (537.6 million to 764.8 million), while the rate (age-standardised per 1000 population) barely declined between 1990 and 2013 (115 per 1000 people to 110 per 1000 people).
There has also been a startling increase in the health loss associated with diabetes (increase of 136 percent), Alzheimer's disease (92 percent increase), medication overuse headache (120 percent increase), and osteoarthritis (75 percent increase).
The findings are published in The Lancet.
Image source: Getty Images
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