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Main causes of death in Spain: non-communicable diseases

Almost 90% of deaths and illnesses in Spain were due to non-communicable diseases such as heart disease, stroke, stroke, Alzheimer’s and lung cancer, while the main risk factors were smoking, high body mass index and high blood glucose levels, according to a report on health status before the pandemic.

Researchers from the Network Biomedical Research Center (Ciber), the Global Health Institute (ISGlobal) and other Spanish and American centers, based on the “Global burden of disease 2019” (data on global burden of disease) have carried out this study which not only addresses the causes of death and disease but also offers a projection to 2030.

The 2019 GBD study includes 369 diseases, injuries and disabilities and 87 risk factors and combinations.

Non-communicable diseases, in particular heart diseases and cancers, account for almost 90% of the causes of death and illness in Spain, but also back pain and depression contribute significantly to the burden of morbidity, especially in the case of women

Smoking, poor diet and excess weight are among the main risk factors and require appropriate health policies, according to the study.

“The results clearly show the influence of sedentary lifestyles and the aging of the population”affirms Joan B. Soriano, senior co-author of the study and researcher in the Respiratory Diseases area of ​​the CIBER (CIBERES) at the Pneumology Service of the Hospital Universitari de la Princesa in Madrid.

“But it is behavioral risk factors, such as smoking and poor nutrition, and environmental ones such as air pollution, or the more recent addition of suboptimal environmental temperature, that added a significant burden to the poor health of the population spanish”aim

cause death
Exterior view of the Central University Hospital of Asturias (HUCA), in Oviedo. EFE/ JL Cereijido

The projection for 2030

The research team used 41 indicators (such as smoking prevalence, air pollution, intimate partner violence and vaccine coverage) to measure Spain’s progress towards the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG ) number 3, which promotes healthy living and well-being for all people at all ages.

In 2019, Spain ranked 20th out of 195 countries and territories. By 2030, the country could surpass Japan, the United States and the European Union on most indicators, although those relating to alcohol consumption, childhood overweight, smoking prevalence and child sexual abuse will remain low grade

Likewise, life expectancy in Spain is expected to reach 84.8 years (87.2 for women and 82.3 for men), although Covid-19, with its health repercussions and social, has slowed down the decline in the mortality rate.

Experts recommend

“Like much of Europe, Spain has experienced a rapid aging of the population due to the increase in life expectancy and the decrease in mortality and fertility”affirms Jeffrey V. Lazarus, head of ISGlobal’s Health Systems research group, center promoted by the “la Caixa” Foundation.

To deal with this scenario, Cyber ​​and ISGlobal experts recommend to curb the causes of death and illness:

  • Focus on promoting health and care seniors strengthening long-term care centers, social support services and telemedicine.
  • Social protection measures, such as pensions and sick leavekey to countering the cost of an aging population, although they warn that these policies may not cover those outside the formal employment system.
  • Watch the tabacism, poor nutrition and environmental factors: in men, smoking was the main risk factor in each of the years studied; and in women, it ranked third, behind only obesity and hyperglycemia/diabetes.
  • Coordinate the 17 autonomous communities and the national government, and provide regional data broken down by specific groupsincluding migrants and the homeless. “These data will help us assess how the financial crisis of 2008 and the current COVID pandemic have influenced, and will continue to influence, Spain’s health trajectory”the researchers conclude.
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