The burden of disease and injury is measured using the ‘disability-adjusted life year’ (DALY). The DALY measures the years of life lost due to premature death coupled with years of ‘healthy’ life lost due to disability.5 One DALY is equivalent to one lost year of healthy life.
The total burden of disease and injury in Australia in 2003 was 2.63 million DALYs.6 Men accounted for more of the burden of disease and injury (1.4 million DALYs) than women (1.3 million DALYs).7
Table 2 shows sex differences in the leading specific causes of healthy life lost. Ischaemic heart disease was the leading specific cause of healthy life lost for men and anxiety and depression were the largest contributors to healthy life lost among women. Dementia, breast cancer, and asthma were in the top 10 specific causes of healthy life lost for women, but not for men. The category suicide and self-inflicted injury was ranked eighth for men, but these causes did not rank in the top 10 for women.
Table 2: Ten leading specific causes of burden of disease and injury (DALYs). by sex. Australia 2003.8
|Male burden||Female burden|
|Rank||Specific cause||No. of DALYs||% of total DALYs||Specific cause||No of DALYs||% of total DALYs|
|1||Ischaemic heart disease||151,107||11.1||Anxiety and depression||126,464||10.0|
|2||Type 2 diabetes||71,176||5.2||Ischaemic heart disease||112,390||8.9|
|3||Anxiety and depression||65,321||4.8||Stroke||65,166||5.1|
|4||Lung cancer||55,028||4.0||Type 2 diabetes||61,763||4.9|
|6||Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease||49,201||3.6||Breast cancer||60,520||4.8|
|7||Adult-onset hearing loss||42,653||3.1||Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease||37,550||3.0|
|8||Suicide and self-inflicted injury||38,717||2.8||Lung cancer||33,876||2.7|
|10||Colorectal cancer||34,643||2.5||Colorectal cancer||28,962||2.3|