Australian Burden of Disease Study: impact and causes of illness and death in Australia 2015
New data released this month by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) shows the leading causes of the total disease burden in Disability Adjusted Life Years (DALY) in 2015 were cancer (18% of total burden), cardiovascular diseases (14%), musculoskeletal conditions (13%), mental health and substance use disorders (12%) and injuries (8.5%).
Together, these disease groups caused around two-thirds of the burden in Australia and have been consistently the main contributors for over a decade.
This data confirms what a lot of people living in the community already know: living with chronic diseases like cancer, heart disease, low back pain and mental health conditions is a long and often painful journey that takes a significant toll on quality of life.
AIHW’s data also supports the findings from the recently released Deloitte Access Economics report on the Cost of Pain in Australia, which also highlighted that chronic pain goes hand in hand with other chronic conditions. Fourty four per cent of people with chronic pain are also living with depression and anxiety, 29.3% with arthritis and 25% with high blood pressure. These comorbidities often contribute to worse health, societal and financial outcomes – for example; major depression in patients with chronic pain is associated with reduced functioning, poorer treatment response, and increased health care costs. In 2018, this figure was $73.2 billion in direct health, productivity and related costs and $66.1 billion in quality of life costs totalling $139 billion.