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Drastic Increase in Chronic Respiratory Diseases over the Past Years

Analysis of data from 195 countries revealed that there has been an increase in mortality rate and disability due to chronic respiratory diseases around the globe over the past three decades. It is the major global public health concern. The findings of the study are published in a journal, The BMJ

Researchers said that the poorest countries in the world had the greatest disease burden. Aging and several other risk factors including environmental pollution, smoking, and body weight play an important role.

Chronic respiratory diseases is a major public health issue, with an estimated 3.9 million deaths in 2017, accounting for 7% of total deaths around the world.

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Diseases (COPD) and asthma are the two most common problems but others including interstitial lung disease (ILD), pulmonary sarcoidosis (due to inflammation or scar in lungs) and pneumoconiosis (lung disease because of dust inhalation) are also major global public health concerns.

Previous analysis of health problems and deaths due to chronic respiratory diseases were confined to local areas and based on limited data.

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To bridge this knowledge gap, Chinese researchers used data from the Global Burden of Disease Study 2017 to describe the trends in deaths and disability-adjusted life years (DALYs) due to chronic respiratory (lung) disease, by sex and age, around the world during 1990-2017. It was a combined measure of life span and quality.

Between 1990 and 2017, the total number of deaths due to chronic respiratory diseases rose by 18% from 3.32 to 3.91 million from 1990 to 2017.

During the study period, mortality rates and disability decreased, particularly in men. The mortality rates and disability were ranked to an age known as the age-standardized mortality rate.

Overall, social deprivation was one of the most important factors affecting the rates of mortality and disability. The highest rate was seen in the poorest regions of the world. Lower mortality rates were seen in more affluent countries, reflecting better access to improved treatments and health services.

Smoking was the leading factor for mortalities and disabilities due to Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Diseases and asthma. In 2017, smoking accounted for 1.4 million mortalities and 33 million DALYs, especially in the poorer countries which indicates and the urgent need for improving tobacco control in the developing countries.

Pollution from airborne particulate matter was the next most important risk factor for COPD, with one million mortalities and 25 million DALYs.

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A high BMI has also accounted for several deaths due to asthma since 2013, particularly in women. It has also contributed the most to the disability-adjusted life years since 2003. Authors said that the prevalence of obesity continues to rise at an alarming rate worldwide so weight loss must be included in the management and treatment of the obese patient with asthma.

The researchers highlighted some study limitations such as rates of misdiagnosis and differences in disease definitions across countries.

Nevertheless, researchers say the study outcomes showed that the total number of deaths and DALYs due to chronic respiratory diseases rose from 1990 to 2017 around the globe. While the rate of age-standardized DALYs and age-standardized death rate decreased, particularly in males.

Regions with the low socio-demographic index had the greatest disease burden. The estimated contribution of risk associated factors to death and DALYs supports the need for immediate efforts to reduce exposure to them.


Amna Rana

Amna Rana, a writing enthusiast and a microbiologist. Her areas of interest are medical and health care. She writes about diseases, treatments, alternative therapies, lifestyles and the latest news. You can find her on Linkedin Amna Rana.

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