New Report Looks at Burden of Disease

By Petrina Smith
Friday, 30 January, 2015

The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare has released it's latest report Australian Burden of Disease Study: Fatal burden of disease 2010.

The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) report looks at years of life lost due to premature death, and the leading causes of these deaths.
'The term 'fatal burden' refers to years of life lost, using the measure YLL (years of life lost). One YLL represents one year of healthy life lost due to premature death," said AIHW spokesperson Dr Lynelle Moon.
In 2010 in Australia there were 143,500 deaths resulting in 2.25 million years of lost lifeand 81 per cent of fatal burden were from five disease groups.
"Cancers were the largest contributor of fatal burden in 2010, accounting for 35 per centof the total, while cardiovascular diseases accounted for a further 23 per cent,"Dr Moon said.
Director of Public Policy at Cancer Council Australia, Paul Grogan, said the main reason we are seeing more people lose their lives to cancers is that we are living longer and more of us are getting cancer in older age.
“This partly reflects positive improvements in the management of other diseases which used to cause premature death on a larger scale – which in itself is good news,” he said.
Mr Grogan said a third of cancer deaths in Australia were caused by modifiable risk factors such as smoking, the combined effects of poor diet, physical inactivity and obesity, UV, alcohol and occupational exposures.
The third most deaths were from injuries (13 per cent), followed by  neurological conditions (six per cent) and then respiratory diseases (five per cent).
Males accounted for 59 per cent  of the total fatal burden, due largely to the high number of YLL in males due to injuries.
There was also variation among age groups in the report. Deaths in infants aged under one year contributed five per cent of total YLL, but they made up only one per cent of all deaths.
'This larger contribution to total YLL reflects the way fatal burden is calculated, taking into account the potential length of life of an infant, as opposed to, for example, an older person," Dr Moon explained.
Injuries were the leading cause of fatal burden in those aged under 45, after which cancers and cardiovascular diseases were most prominent.
'The contribution from cancer peaked around age 55-64 then declined, while cardiovascular disease was the major cause of fatal burden among people aged 85 and over, ' Dr Moon said.
The Australian Burden of Disease Study: Fatal burden of disease 2010 report is the first in a series of publications from the Australian Burden of Disease Study 2011. The full report of this study will update and extend this report with estimates of fatal and non-fatal burden.

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