Iron-deficiency anaemia, migraine, and back pain are among the top diseases which cause Pakistanis to lose several years of their productive lives, affecting not only their quality of life but also rendering them as an economic burden on the society, says a new study.
Epidemiologists say these diseases, although not fatal, can be more dangerous than some diseases because they are apparently ‘invisible’ and are not taken as seriously despite seriously impacting the productivity of people for years.
According to the annual Global Burden of Disease (GBD) study, Pakistanis on average lose 34,841.8 years due to iron-deficiency anemia, 57,648.2 to lower back pain and 45,121.9 to migraines. An individual Pakistani ends up losing around several years of their expected 66 years life to these afflictions.
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The study was coordinated by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME), an independent global health research center at the University of Washington in Seattle. It is the largest and most comprehensive epidemiological effort to quantify health loss across places and over time.
It draws on the work of over 2,500 collaborators from more than 130 countries and territories. This year, more than 13 billion data points were included.
According to the comparison made in the study, iron deficiency anaemia was the number one cause of years lived with disability (YLDs) in Pakistan in 2005 too and remains the number one cause over a decade later in 2016.
Skin diseases remain second as in previous years, while lower back and neck pain jumps from number four to number three in 2016. Other top ten diseases impacting productive lives in 2016 include sense organ diseases, migraine, depressive disorders, diabetes, other musculoskeletal, anxiety disorders, drug use disorders.