For scientists and health professionals, estimating the number of years lost as a result of an illness is often a daunting task. One possible approach is to group available statistics on the age of death of people with a specific disease and compare them with the average life expectancy if they did not develop the disease.
Yet, as New Scientist points out, researchers tend to simplify these calculations and assume that people develop this or that condition at a given age. The magazine takes the example of the impact of mental illness on mortality, which is usually calculated assuming that the pathology develops from the age of 15. It is then difficult to estimate the life expectancy of an individual affected by the disease at a later age.
A study published on June 16, 2022 in the journal PLOS Medecine et dirigée by Oleguer Plana-Ripoll of the University of Aarhus in Denmark, however, could change women. The research team decided to apply “An existing statistical model” to estimate the years of life lost due to illness in almost 7.4 million Danes. Conducted between 2000 and 2018, this rich and informative study considered 1,803 common diseases, some of which affect “The lungs, the circulatory system, the intestines, the urinary tract, the nervous system and the brain.”
A useful database to search
Participants were followed for almost two decades, until their deaths in 14% of cases. The data collected allowed scientists to adjust their estimates of the life expectancy of sick people, taking into account the age at which they contracted their disease.
Several team is not arrested there and decided to create a website: The Danish Atlas of Mortality by Disease (“The Danish Atlas of Mortality by Disease”, in French), which brings together its various conclusions. Oleguer Plana-Ripoll explains that this tool could provide a useful resource office for specialists in mortality statistics associated with specific diseases.
This sizeable database could be prepared primarily for healthcare professionals as they interact with patients, says New Scientist. “They can then see what is similar to the mortality rates of these patients at this age. And you know that you have to arrange additional consultations with these people »comments Plana-Ripoll.
However, the New Scientist points out that these data cannot be applied to persons residing outside Denmark.