A study, titled ‘The Global Burden of Disease Study 2013’, on impacts of all major diseases and disability among people in 188 countries has revealed that life expectancy worldwide has increased but healthy life expectancy has not increased as much, as many people are sustaining illnesses for longer periods.
According to the analysis, which was published in The Lancet journal, significant progress in fighting infectious diseases such as HIV/AIDS and malaria, and illnesses affecting children in the past decade has led to the improvement of general health globally. However, people are living with illnesses and disabilities for more number of years.
Leading this analysis is Theo Vos, a professor at the Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington, who said, “The world has made great progress in health but the challenge now is to invest in finding more effective ways to prevent or treat major causes of illnesses and disability”. The calculations of life expectancy and healthy life expectancy considered factors such as age-specific mortality and impact of nonfatal conditions and chronic diseases like heart and lung diseases, diabetes and serious injuries, which detract from quality of life and impose heavy treatment costs and resources burdens.
The main findings of the study were that global life expectancy at birth for both sexes rose by 6.2 years from 65.3 in 1990 to 71.5 in 2013. Healthy life expectancy at birth rose by 5.4 years from 56.9 in 1990 to 62.3 in 2013.
In 2013, Japan had the highest healthy life expectancy rate in the world at 73.4 years while Lesotho had the lowest at 42 years. Regarding Kuwait, the male life expectancy increased from 76.74 in 1990 to 76.96 in 2005 and 79.39 in 2013, while the healthy life expectancy increased from 65.32 in 1990 to 66.42 in 2005 and 68.54 in 2013.
The female life expectancy in Kuwait increased from 79.09 in 1990 to 80.38 in 2005 and 81.69 in 2013, while the healthy life expectancy increased from 67.07 in 1990 to 68.41 in 2005 and 69.58 in 2013. The researchers explained that the changes in healthy life expectancy between 1990 and 2013 were “significant and positive” in most of the 188 countries covered by the study. However, in Belize, Botswana and Syria, there wasn’t much difference between the healthy life expectancy rates in 2013 and in 1990. The healthy life expectancy rates of Botswana and Belize declined by 2 and 1.3 years respectively.
Meanwhile, in countries such as South Africa, Paraguay and Belarus, the healthy life expectancy rate dropped. In Lesotho and Swaziland, people born in 2013 could expect to live about 10 years of fewer healthy lives compared to people born 20 years earlier. On the other hand, the study noted dramatic increases in the healthy life expectancy rates of Nicaragua and Cambodia since 1990 with 14.7 and 13.9 years respectively.
The study also calculated disabilityadjusted- life years (DALY) for each of the 188 countries using factors such as premature mortality rate and years lived with disability. In Kuwait, the ten most common causes of DALY are Ischaemic Heart Disease (IHD), diabetes mellitus, depressive disorders, drug use disorders, congenital anomalies, road injuries, lower back and neck pain, skin and subcutaneous diseases, sense organ diseases and preterm birth complications.
Source: Arab Times