The paradox of the 21st century – is there really an epidemic of most common killers?
Leszek Paczek, Marcin Nowak
Transplantation Institute, Department of Immunology, Transplantology and Internal Diseases, Medical University of Warsaw, Warsaw, Poland
Abstract: Over the last 110 years, average global life expectancy has more than doubled from 31 years of age to 65 years of age. This trend is expected to continue, and many of the children born after the year 2000 can expect to live to celebrate their hundredth birthday. In the last 20 years alone, average life expectancy has increased globally by 6 years.
During the same period, doctors have announced a global epidemic of the most common killers: cardiovascular disease, diabetes, chronic kidney, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. One of the most important reasons for the more frequent recognition of these diseases is the fact that their diagnostic criteria have changed and become much more acute during the past few years.
These changes in diagnostic criteria have made it difficult, or even impossible, to compare the present statistical data regarding these diseases to historical data for the same illnesses. Due to this difficulty, there is no evidence-based comparison of the prevalence of any disease at present and in the past. Before announcing a global epidemic, a fair epidemiological comparison should be made, based upon the same definitions and using identical diagnostic tools.
Keywords: global life expectancy, epidemic of CVD, DM, CKD, COPD
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