A new study has found that humanity is a lot more ill than it realizes. In 2013, only 4% of the entire world didn’t have a health problem, while one-third — about 2.3 billion people — suffered from more than five health problems.
The study, which was published in the The Lancet, has been called the largest analysis of trends in health around the world from 1990 to 2013. Researchers analyzed data from 188 countries, looking at more than 300 illnesses and injuries.
In both 1990 and 2013, the leading causes of poor health across the world included lower back pain, depression, iron-deficiency anemia, neck pain, and age-related hearing loss. However, in 2013, musculoskeletal problems, and mental health/substance abuse disorders accounted for nearly half of all losses of healthy years of life, according to the study.
Even more startling, the study found that one out of every 10 people in the entire world suffered from either tooth decay, tension headaches, iron-deficiency anemia, age-related hearing loss, genital herpes, migraines, intestinal roundworm, or a genetic blood disorder.
It also found an alarming increase in ill health between 1990 and 2013 as the result of arthritis, diabetes, and Alzheimer’s disease.
And things are only going to get worse. By 2030, there will be about 72.1 million elderly persons, more than twice than what there was in 2000. In other words, the amount of people who will be living with health problems will increase rapidly in less than two decades.
However, there is good news. Using the results of the study, researchers can re-prioritize research. As Theo Vos, the study’s author, said in a press release, “Addressing these issues will require a shift in health priorities around the world, not just to keep people alive into old age, but also to keep them healthy.”