People live longer, but also more sick

ministre-veronique-hivon-mention-adoptionThe overall life expectancy has increased more than six years since 1990, but the growth of the healthy life expectancy has been hampered by problems such as ischaemic heart disease, respiratory infections, and cerebral vascular accidents.

This means that humans are living longer than ever, even in the poorest countries, but a complex cocktail of diseases, fatal or non-fatal limit the growth in the number of years lived in health, shows a new analysis of the major diseases and injuries in 188 countries.

The progress made in the last 10 years in the face of diseases such as aids/HIV and malaria – and the ones noted in areas such as maternal health and nutrition, have contributed greatly to improving health around the world.

The overall life expectancy at birth for both sexes has jumped by 6.2 years, but only 5.4 years for the hope of a healthy life. The healthy life expectancy is testament to years lived with disability and years lost to premature mortality, which means that humans endure more years of illness and disability.

The main causes of loss of health were, in 2013, ischaemic heart disease, lower respiratory infections, stroke, back pain, and road accidents. The impact of other problems, such as diarrheal diseases and pregnancy complications, has been greatly reduced.

Canada is in 10th place in overall life expectancy, behind South Korea. Japan, Singapore and Andorra occupy the first three places. It is in Lesotho that people live less long.

The conclusions of this analysis are published by the medical journal The Lancet.

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