Health problems? You’re not alone


Just one in 20 individuals around the globe was without ailments in 2013 and a third of them encountered more than five health problems.

According to a large scale analysis, this is due the global effect of an aging population in developed countries, coupled with a growing population in developing countries where health is often sub-optimum. Authors of the analysis also say that the worst is yet to come.

“Large, preventable causes of health loss, particularly serious musculoskeletal disorders and mental and behavioral disorders, have not received the attention that they deserve,” says Theo Vos, lead author and Professor of Global Health at the University of Washington, in the US.

Their analysis is said to be the largest and most detailed quantification of levels, patterns and trends in the domain of global health between 1990 and 2013.

“Addressing these issues will require a shift in health priorities around the world, not just to keep people alive into old age, but also to keep them healthy,” says Vos.

So what’s ailing people?

Low back pain, depression, iron-deficiency anemia, neck pain and age-related hearing loss represented the largest proportion of global health problems during the period examined.

These very ailments have led the cause of health loss for the past 23 years, according to the research team.

Low back and neck pain, arthritis specialist, depression, anxiety, drug and alcohol use disorders accounted for nearly half of health loss in 2013, according to the analysis.

Disability rates are declining slower than death rates according to the analysis, which says global rates of diabetes have increased by 43% over the past 23 years, yet the rate of death from this debilitating disease rose by just 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,” says Vos.

Health loss associated with diabetes has skyrocketed by 136%, Alzheimer’s disease is associated with a 92% increase in health loss, and headache medication overuse is responsible for a 120% health loss increase, according to the report.

The research team, who are collaborators on the 2013 Global Burden of Disease Study, worked with 35,620 information sources from 188 countries with an eye to revealing the growing burden that 301 acute and chronic diseases impose on healthcare.

They also analysed the burden of 2,337 health consequences that result from these ailments and the research was published in the Lancet.

Source: AFP Relaxnews

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