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Worldwide disease epidemiology in the older persons

  • Camilla Mattiuzzi
  • Giuseppe LippiEmail author
Research Paper

Key summary points

Aim

To provide an overview on the current worldwide disease epidemiology in older persons.

Findings

Ischemic heart disease, stroke and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease are the leading causes of disability and death in older people, whilst dementias have displayed the largest increase during the past 16 years.

Message

Cancers and dementias will probably display the highest mortality escalation during the next 40 years.

Abstract

Purpose

This article provides an overview on the current worldwide disease epidemiology in older persons, analyzing information contained in the World Health Organization (WHO) health data and statistics database.

Methods

Epidemiology data on diseases in older persons (i.e., in subjects aged 60 years or older) were retrieved from the official WHO health data and statistics database.

Results

Ischemic heart disease (IHD), stroke and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) are the leading causes of disability and death in older people, whilst dementias have displayed the largest increase during the past 16 years. With only few exceptions, significant sex difference can be observed in the majority of diseases causing disability-adjusted life years (DALYs) and deaths in older people. DALYs are mostly caused by IHD, malignancies, COPD and cirrhosis in older men; whilst dementias, hearing loss, falls, hypertensive heart disease, back and neck pain and diarrheal diseases cause larger health loss in older women. Death rate for malignancies (except colorectal cancer), COPD, cirrhosis and tuberculosis is larger in older men; whilst mortality for cardiovascular disorders, dementias and diarrheal diseases is larger in older women. IHD is the leading cause of health loss and deaths in nearly all WHO regions, whilst infectious diseases still cause a substantial epidemiologic burden in Africa.

Conclusions

Cancers and dementias will probably display the highest mortality escalation during the next 40 years.

Keywords

Geriatric diseases Aging Epidemiology Mortality 

Notes

Funding

No funding.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

The study was performed in accordance with the Declaration of Helsinki and under the terms of relevant local legislation. Ethics board approval is unnecessary at the local institution (University of Verona) for articles based on free scientific databases searches.

Informed consent

For this type of study, formal consent is not required.

Supplementary material

41999_2019_265_MOESM1_ESM.docx (18 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 18 kb)

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Copyright information

© European Geriatric Medicine Society 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Service of Clinical GovernanceProvincial Agency for Social and Sanitary ServicesTrentoItaly
  2. 2.Section of Clinical BiochemistryUniversity Hospital of VeronaVeronaItaly

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