The state of America’s health is improving, sort of. Reports published in two leading medical journals, reveal that Americans are living longer, but not necessarily healthier.
After analyzing two decades’ worth of health records from 34 developed countries — the researchers have determined “which diseases, injuries and risk factors are related to the greatest losses of health, and how these risk factors and health outcomes are changing over time.”
Among those risk factors, the researchers also found that Americans’ life expectancy increased by three years between 1990 and 2010 (from 75.2 years to 78.2 years), but note that 27 out of 33 countries now out-rank us on mortality statistics such as life expectancy and premature death.
“Citizens living in countries with a substantially lower gross domestic product and health expenditures per capita, such as Chile, Portugal, Slovenia, and South Korea, have lower mortality rates than those in the United States,” they write in an overview article appearing in this week’s JAMA.
The studies also gauged the shifting impact of different diseases and injuries. Here are some of the conditions that took the greatest toll on Americans’ health in 2010.
- Ischemic heart disease – Down 19%
- Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) -Up 34%
- Low back pain – Up 25%
- Lung cancer – Up 4%
- Major depressive disorder – Up 43%
- Musculoskeletal pain – Up 34%
- Stroke – No change
- Diabetes – Up 58%
- Road injury – Down 16%
- Drug abuse – Up 85%
- Neck pain – Up 29%
- Alzheimer disease – Up 159%
- Anxiety disorders – Up 21%
- Self-harm – Up 6%
- Falls – Up 58%
- Cirrhosis – Up 38%
- Chronic kidney disease – Up 69%
- Colorectal cancer – Up 3%
- Alcohol abuse – Up 26%
- Lower respiratory tract infections – Down 13%
- Breast cancer – Down 2%
- Interpersonal violence – Down 26%
- Pre-term birth complications – Down 25%
- Asthma – Up 14%
- Osteoarthritis – Up 56%
- Non-ischemic cardiovascular diseases – Up 27%
- Schizophrenia – Up 29%
- Migraine – Up 19%
The researchers say the numbers show that people are becoming more disabled, not less.
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