Life Expectancy Increases by a Decade Across the Globe

Thursday, 06 October 2016

Data has revealed a 10 year increase in life expectancy across the world in the last 35 years. This is partially due to efforts to treat infectious illnesses like malaria and Aids. However, drug use, diet and obesity are now major causes of disability and death, whilst too many women still die during childbirth.

The Global Burden of Disease study frequently reviews the causes of disability, death and illness in every country across the globe. It shows that health is getting better, but not in the same ways or to the same extent in every country. As people live for longer, they are suffering from more disability and ill health in old age.

Dr Christopher Murray said that development does drive, but this doesn’t mean health is where it should be. He said some countries have improved much faster than can be explained by fertility, income or education. He added that the study continues to see countries such as America that aren’t as healthy as they should be with the resources they have.

Between 1980 and 2015, life expectancy has increased worldwide by more than 10 years. 70% of deaths are caused by non-infectious diseases rooted in lifestyle choices, such as diabetes, heart disease and stroke, but also include dementia. Aids was responsible for 1.2 million deaths last year, but this has reduced by a third since 2005

According to the papers in the Lancet medical journal, people spend longer with disability and chronic illnesses caused by drug use (particularly of cocaine and opioids), osteoarthritis, loss of hearing and loss of sight.

Sight and hearing loss, lower back and neck pain, iron-deficiency anaemia and depression were the biggest reasons for people experiencing poor health. A large number of people (2.3 billion) suffer with tooth cavities for longer than three months and 1.5 billion regularly suffer from tension headaches. There has been a decline in the number of people who have asthma, COPD, ischemic heart disease and cervical cancer

The biggest risk factors for ill health and premature death last year were smoking, high BMI, childhood undernutrition, high blood pressure and high blood sugar.

Globally, environmental factors challenge health. Obesity caused by diets high in salt and low in wholegrains, fruit, vegetables, seeds, seafood and nuts, pollutants such diesel exhaust and ozone pollution, and drug use have an effect on cancer, diabetes and heart disease, according by the study, which was carried out by the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation.

There has been progress in the reduction of health threats from unsafe sanitation, household air pollution and smoking, but they are still major bad health causes. Smoking exposure fell by more than a quarter across the globe, but it is still among the top five risk factors linked to health loss in 140 countries. It claimed 289,000 more lives last year than in 2005 and is the main risk factor for poor health in both the US and the UK.