The Ebola virus epidemic in 2015 generated a wave of fear around the world. In a little over a year and a half, the epidemic in West Africa left 11,300 people dead and sparked an international panic. Yet, contagious diseases are no longer the main cause of disease. The latter conclusion is the central argument of the latest study published under the title of the Global Burden of Disease in the Lancet.
Over the past several decades, human life expectancy has risen, according to the study. That of men stands at 69 years, 75 years for women. The decline in infectious diseases is welcome. During the past decade, HIV, malaria and diarrhea have killed less people than in previous decades. This is also the case of cardiovascular diseases and cancer, to a lesser extent.
Now, 70% of deaths worldwide are related to non-contagious diseases. The disease are almost all related to lifestyle: stroke, diabetes, kidney disease, or dementia.
In fact, lifestyle is clearly the cause of the poor health of the planet. Since the 1990s, the percentage of overweight people worldwide jumped sharply as exposure to poor quality food also rose. As a result, chronic disease risk factors also exploded. hypertension, hyperglycemia, overweight have become common, especially in developed countries.
One has only to observe the example of Europe to be convinced of the changes that have happened. In Scotland and Norway, drug-related deaths exceed expected levels. However, strokes are fewer and less deadly in Western Europe.
In Eastern Europe, however, the situation is particularly bad. self-destructive behavior, cirrhosis and disorders related to psychoactive substances have exploded in recent years. In Russia, for example, alcohol-related mortality exceeds 10 times the expected level. However, the country has improved against maternal survival.
If diseases are less lethal, it does not mean that the population is in better health. Back pain, neck pain, sensory or depressive disorders and anemia lead the dance. In an era where the world lives longer, the news is worrisome: the extra cost to healthcare systems, for care and treatment, can become very heavy.