Low back pain, depression, iron-deficiency and neck pain are prominent, says study sponsored by Gates Foundation
GN Bureau | June 8, 2015
Every third person on the Earth suffers from at least five ailments, says a study published in respected medical journal The Lancet on Monday and sponsored by Bill and Melinda Gates Foundations.
It revealed that the leading causes of health loss include low back pain, depression, iron-deficiency, anaemia and neck pain. The Global Burden of Disease Study 2013 (GBD 2013), we estimated these quantities for acute and chronic diseases and injuries for 188 countries between 1990 and 2013.
The disorders such as low back pain, neck pain and arthritis, and mental and substance abuse disorders such as depression, anxiety and drug and alcohol use disorders were the cause of almost half of all health loss worldwide.
The study found that while low back pain and major depression ranked among the top 10 contributors to disability in every country, eight causes of chronic disorders affected more than 10% of the world population in 2013: with cavities in permanent teeth affecting 2.4 billion, tension-type headaches affecting 1.6 billion, iron-deficiency anaemia affecting 1.2 billion, glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase deficiency trait affecting 1.18 billion, age-related hearing loss affecting 1.23 billion, genital herpes affecting 1.12 billion, migraine affecting 850 million, and ascariasis affecting 800 million. In Sub-Saharan Africa, HIV/AIDS was a key driver of rising number of years lived with disability
Another important finding was that a sharp increase in health loss associated four ailments in 23 years. Diabetes saw an increase of 136%, Alzheimer’s disease rose 92%, medication overuse 120%, and osteoarthritis saw a 75% increase.
Comorbidity rose substantially with age and in absolute terms from 1990 to 2013. Incidence of acute sequelae were predominantly infectious diseases and short-term injuries, with over 2 billion cases of upper respiratory infections and diarrhoeal disease episodes in 2013, with the notable exception of tooth pain due to permanent caries with more than 200 million incident cases in 2013.
The study found that while there is an increase in rates of diseases in people, death rates are not rising as sharply. For example, while rates of diabetes rose by around 43% between 1990 and 2013, death rates from diabetes increased by only 9%.
“The fact that mortality is 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,” said Theo Vos, lead author and professor of Global Health at the Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation, University of Washington, in a press release.
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