Exploring Human Potential

Global Burden of Disease Update – U.S. Mortality 58th.

Posted on | September 25, 2017 | Comments Off on Global Burden of Disease Update – U.S. Mortality 58th.

Lancet Interactive HERE


The Lancet just updated Christopher Murray’s longitudinal study on Global Burden of Disease. Now entering its 20th year, it continues to show the advance of chronic disease over communicable disease as a source of mortality and morbidity(in 3 out of 4 cases).

In the latest rankings, the US finished 24th overall but has dropped to 58th in life expectancy, its lowest ranking in 45 years. Our life expectancy has been essentially flat since 2010. The major chronic disease killer varies by national income. In high wage countries like our own heart disease remains the major killer, fueled in part by obesity. In low wage nations, respiratory conditions, fueled by environmental degradation and cigarette smoking, lead the way.

As for communicable diseases, many nations have made progress in under-5 mortality, especially from malaria. Survival across all nations is not necessarily accompanied by “good health”.  The evil triplet is obesity, mental illness and violence.

MedpageToday Interactive HERE


This Medscape interactive graph has all the facts and figures. The size of the box shows its relative contribution to the global burden of disease. Going from orange to blue shows increasing incidence population-wide over the past decade.

Overall, the world’s population is living longer. But in some ways that demands that our health care systems be more efficient and effective. Why? Because individual burden of disease and the cost of managing this burden grows as we age. Rises in disability from arthritis to hearing loss, from COPD to cardiovascular disease, will predictably challenge inefficient systems as in the US. If anything, our system will strain further without reform.



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