Study shows global burden of disease across world

The largest ever study into the global burden of disease has been published this week in the journal, The Lancet.
The study analyses the distribution of diseases across the world to understand which conditions are having the largest impact on populations today and what factors are putting people at risk of developing these conditions.

The Global Burden of Disease (GBD) Study 2020 began in 2007. A similar study was carried out in 1990, but the new research is the most comprehensive effort since then to estimate the burden of disease for the years 1990, 2005, and 2010 for 21 regions across the world.

The study revealed a substantial shift in the types of diseases that have the biggest impact today. Infectious diseases, maternal and child illness, and malnutrition are now causing fewer deaths and less illness than in 1990. However, while fewer children are dying every year, the burden has shifted to non-communicable diseases  such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), leaving more middle-aged adults suffering from disease and injury.

Key findings linked with lung health, include:

  • Exposure to air pollution ranked as one of the top ten risk factors for health globally.

Over 430,000 premature deaths and over 7 million years of healthy life were lost in Western, Central and Eastern Europe in 2010 from exposure to fine particulate matter.

  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), lower respiratory infections, and lung cancer, were all leading causes of death in 2010.

These lung conditions were included within the top causes of death, along with ischaemic heart disease, stroke, and HIV/AIDS.

  • Fewer deaths from lower respiratory tract infections.

Deaths from lower respiratory tract infections dropped from 3.4 million in 1990 to 2.8 million in 2010.

Read the full study in the Lancet