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     People in Pakistan are living longer, but not happily.

    It is not a political statement but the finding of a worldwide study that the longer living Pakistanis are spending more time in ill health.

    International researchers working for the Global Burden of Disease project reported that in 2013 migraines, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and diabetes were among the 10 leading causes of ‘years lived with disability’ (YLDs) in Pakistan.

    Other leading causes included hearing loss, anxiety disorders and neck pain.

    Titled “1990-2013: A systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2013” the study was led by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington, and is based on data of 301 acute and chronic diseases and injuries in 188 countries.
    Death rates are falling faster than those of nonfatal diseases and injuries

    People are living longer in Pakistan despite spending more time in ill health because rates of non-fatal diseases and injuries decline more slowly than death rates, the study explained.

    For both sexes combined, the leading causes of YLDs remained largely the same during the period 1990-2013. But they take an increased toll on health due to population growth and aging, it said.
    It also shows that musculoskeletal disorders – which include shoulder injuries and fractures from osteoporosis – have replaced diarrheal diseases as a leading cause of YLDs for Pakistani women. In the 23 years the study covers, iron-deficiency anemia at 11 per cent was the smallest percentage increase among the top causes of YLDs while musculoskeletal disorders as the cause increased by 163 per cent, and diabetes by 170 per cent.

    Diabetes YLDs for men in Pakistan increased by 100 per cent and depression by 94 per cent during those years, while that from iron-deficiency anemia declined by 9 per cent.

    “The health of Pakistanis is increasingly threatened by non-communicable diseases such as depression, chronic back pain, and migraines,” said Dr. Zulfiqar Bhutta, co-author of the study and founding director of the Centre of Excellence in Women and Child Health at the Aga Khan University in Karachi.

    “At the same time, diseases like iron-deficiency anemia, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and diabetes are also costing people in Pakistan many years of healthy life. It is critical that we understand which diseases and injuries are causing disability so that we can effectively allocate resources for national planning,” Professor Bhutta added.
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