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The world-wide burden of musculoskeletal diseases: a systematic analysis of the World Health Organization Burden of Diseases Database


Background Musculoskeletal (MSK) diseases are expected to have a growing impact worldwide.

Objective To analyse the worldwide burden of MSK diseases from 2000 to 2015.

Methods Disability-adjusted life years (DALYs), which combines the years of life lost (YLLs) and the years lived with disability (YLDs), were extracted for 183 countries from the WHO Global Health Estimates Database. We analysed the median proportion of DALYS, YLLs and YLDs for MSK diseases (ICD-10: M00–M99) among the 23 WHO categories of diseases. Mixed models were built to assess temporal changes.

Results Worldwide, the total number of MSK DALYs increased significantly from 80,225,634.6 in 2000 to 107,885,832.6 in 2015 (p < 0.001), with the total number of MSK YLDs increasing from 77,377,709.4 to 103,817,908.4 (p = 0.0008) and MSK diseases being the second cause of YLDs worldwide. YLLs due to MSK diseases increased from 2,847,925.2 to 4,067,924.2 (p = 0.03). In 2015, the median proportion of DALYs attributed to MSK diseases was 6.66% (IQR: 5.30 – 7.88) in Europe versus 4.66% (3.98 – 5.59) in the Americas (p < 0.0001 vs Europe), 4.17% (3.14 – 6.25) in Asia (p < 0.0001), 4.14% (2.65 – 5.57) in Oceania (p = 0.0008) and 1.33% (1.03 – 1.92) in Africa (p < 0.0001). We observed a significant correlation (r = 0.85, p < 0.0001) between the proportion of MSK DALYs and the gross domestic product per capita for the year 2015.

Conclusions The burden of MSK diseases increased significantly between 2000 and 2015 and is high in Europe. These results are crucial to health professionals and policy makers to implement future health plan adjustments for MSK diseases.

  • rheumatology
  • global burden of disease
  • daly
  • YLL
  • YLD

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