Up-to-date evidence about levels and trends in disease and injury incidence, prevalence, and years lived with disability (YLDs) is an essential input into global, regional, and national health policies. In the Global Burden of Disease Study 2013 (GBD 2013), we estimated these quantities for acute and chronic diseases and injuries for 188 countries between 1990 and 2013.
Estimates were calculated for disease and injury incidence, prevalence, and YLDs using GBD 2010 methods with some important refinements. Results for incidence of acute disorders and prevalence of chronic disorders are new additions to the analysis. Key improvements include expansion to the cause and sequelae list, updated systematic reviews, use of detailed injury codes, improvements to the Bayesian meta-regression method (DisMod-MR), and use of severity splits for various causes. An index of data representativeness, showing data availability, was calculated for each cause and impairment during three periods globally and at the country level for 2013. In total, 35,620 distinct sources of data were used and documented to calculate estimates for 301 diseases and injuries and 2,337 sequelae. The comorbidity simulation provides estimates for the number of sequelae, concurrently, by individuals by country, year, age, and sex. Disability weights were updated with the addition of new population-based survey data from four countries.
Disease and injury were highly prevalent; only a small fraction of individuals had no sequelae. Comorbidity rose substantially with age and in absolute terms from 1990 to 2013. Incidence of acute sequelae were predominantly infectious diseases and short-term injuries, with over 2 billion cases of upper respiratory infections and diarrheal disease episodes in 2013, with the notable exception of tooth pain due to permanent caries with more than 200 million incident cases in 2013. Conversely, leading chronic sequelae were largely attributable to non-communicable diseases, with prevalence estimates for asymptomatic permanent caries and tension-type headache of 2.4 billion and 1.6 billion, respectively. The distribution of the number of sequelae in populations varied widely across regions, with an expected relation between age and disease prevalence. YLDs for both sexes increased from 537.6 million in 1990 to 764.8 million in 2013 due to population growth and ageing, whereas the age-standardized rate decreased little from 114.87 per 1,000 people to 110.31 per 1,000 people between 1990 and 2013. Leading causes of YLDs included low back pain and major depressive disorder among the top ten causes of YLDs in every country. YLD rates per person, by major cause groups, indicated the main drivers of increases were due to musculoskeletal, mental, and substance use disorders, neurological disorders, and chronic respiratory diseases; however HIV/AIDS was a notable driver of increasing YLDs in sub-Saharan Africa. Also, the proportion of disability-adjusted life years due to YLDs increased globally from 21.1% in 1990 to 31.2% in 2013.
Aging of the world’s population is leading to a substantial increase in the numbers of individuals with sequelae of diseases and injuries. Rates of YLDs are declining much more slowly than mortality rates. The nonfatal dimensions of disease and injury will require more and more attention from health systems. The transition to nonfatal outcomes as the dominant source of burden of disease is occurring rapidly outside of sub-Saharan Africa. Our results can guide future health initiatives through examination of epidemiological trends and a better understanding of variation across countries.
Global Burden of Disease Study 2013 Collaborators. Global, regional, and national incidence, prevalence, and years lived with disability for 301 acute and chronic diseases and injuries in 188 countries, 1990–2013: a systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2013. The Lancet. 2015 June 8. doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(15)60692-4.
*Authors listed alphabetically
†Joint senior authors