Research and Metrics Underscore the Importance of Fighting Chronic Disease

December 14, 2012

The Global Burden of Disease Study 2010 (GBD 2010) is the largest ever systematic effort to capture the global distribution and causes of a wide array of major diseases, injuries, and health risk factors. The report highlights non-communicable diseases, such as cancer and heart disease, as the dominant causes of death and disability worldwide. Released in December 2012, the study underscores what the Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease has been working against since its inception - chronic disease and resulting rising costs, especially as an aging worldwide population commands increasing resources and interventions.

As noted in the report, noncommunicable diseases are one of four significant aspects of the global health burden and addressing it in the short term with sustainable solutions that will make an impact in the long term is imperative. As health systems continually examine top priorities and shift focus to elements aimed at addressing the increasing needs of the world’s aging populations, useful information and research efforts like GBD 2010 can help guide practices, programs and policies in a direction that will both raise awareness and motivate positive change in health care systems worldwide. 

While many of the highlighted risk factors are preventable - tobacco, alcohol, household air pollution, diet and obesity - it continues to take attention and effort from multiple parties to provide patients with health care solutions that are affordable and effective. Preventive offerings and care coordination measures are critical ways to head off or promote early detection and intervention for patients struggling with one or more chronic conditions and facing additional struggles at the hands of common everyday obstacles such as fragmented care systems and poor adherence.

We are all patients in the world of health care and fostering systems that promote overall wellness and healthy outcomes is a shared goal. PFCD applauds this research effort and encourages health care leaders to continue to take steps like this in order to fight the number one cause of death, disability and rising costs.