While the Life expectancy in India has been increasing over the years, men are living longer by 6.9 years and women by 10.3 years.
The recent data on life expectancy between the years 1990-2013, however, also shows healthy life expectancy didn’t increase as much: men gained 6.4 years and women gained 8.9 years. Life expectancy for women in India still is ahead of that in men, 68.5 years in comparison to 64.2 years.
However, it is not just mortality but the impact of non-fatal conditions that takes into account for a healthy life expectancy. It summarises years lived with disability and years lost due to premature mortality.
Although, the increase in healthy life expectancy has not been as dramatic as the growth of life expectancywhich implies that people are living more years being sick with illness and disability.
A number of health issues in India, that are causing a loss, as measured by disability-adjusted life-years (DALYs), in 2013 are ischemic heart disease (IHD), chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, lower respiratory infections, tuberculosis, neonatal preterm birth complications, neonatal encephalopathy, diarrhoeal diseases, cerebrovascular disease, road injury, and low back and neck pain.
However, neonatal encephalopathy and tuberculosis were not among the leading causes of health loss globally.
Meanwhile, the study, ‘Global, regional and national disability-adjusted life years (DALYs) for 306 diseases and injuries and healthy life expectancy for 188 countries, 1990-2013: quantifying the epidemiological transition’, published in The Lancet on August 27, examines nonfatal and fatal health loss across countries. The study was conducted by an international consortium of researchers working on the Global Burden of Disease study, including from the Public Health Foundation of India (PHFI), and led by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington.
Speaking in the same vein “Healthy life expectancy in India is 12 years lower for women and 8 years lower for men than in neighbouring country Sri Lanka,” said study co-author Dr.LalitDandona, a professor at PHFI and IHME and led the work of this study in India. “This difference indicates that substantial health improvements in India are possible and that public policy should make this a top priority in order to enable India reach its optimal development potential.”
Top causes of DALYs
Causes of health loss differed by gender in India. For Indian men, the top-five causes of DALYs in 2013 were:
3. Obstructive pulmonary disease
4. Neonatal encephalopathy
5. Neonatal preterm birth complications.
For women, the top five causes of DALYs in 2013 were:
2. Lower respiratory infections
3. Diarrhoeal diseases
4. Obstructive pulmonary disease
5. Neonatal preterm birth complications
For Indian men, the fastest-growing leading causes of health loss between 1990 and 2013 were:
1. Self-harm, which increased at rates of 149.9%
2. IHD, at 79.9%
3. Cerebrovascular disease, at 59.8%
Only IHD was in the top-10 causes of male DALYs in 1990.
For women, the largest increases among the leading causes of DALYs in 1990-103 occurred for:
1. IHD (69%)
2. Depressive disorders (66.1%)
3. Cerebrovascular disease (36.8%)
Only IHD was among the 10 leading causes of health loss for women in 1990.
(With inputs from web)
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