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Lower back pain top disability cause

Lower back pain top disability cause
Photo: Lower back pain top disability cause
Diabetes poses an increasing health threat to Australians, while low back pain is the leading cause of disability, says a new study.

Low back pain is the leading cause of ill health in Australians, according to an international study.

It also tops the worldwide list of conditions causing the most years lived with disability (YLDs).

The study, published in The Lancet, analysed 301 acute and chronic diseases and injuries in 188 countries.

YLDs quantifies the impact of health problems that impair mobility, hearing, or vision, or cause pain in some way.

The leading causes in Australia in 2013 included neck pain, migraines, anxiety disorders and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
For Australian women, since 1990, diabetes and Alzheimer's disease have replaced the iron-deficiency anemia and hearing as leading YLDs.

Diabetes YLDs also increased dramatically for men.

Professor Louisa Degenhardt of the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre at UNSW was a co-author of the study.

"The health of Australians is increasingly threatened by non-fatal ailments like back and neck pains, and mental health disorders like depression and anxiety," she said.

"At the same time, deadly diseases like chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and diabetes are also costing Australians many years of healthy life.

"It is critical that we understand which diseases and injuries are causing disability so that we can effectively allocate resources."

War and conflict was a leading cause of YLDs in countries such as El Salvador, Guatemala, Lebanon, Peru, and Syria, topping the list for Cambodia, Nicaragua, and Rwanda.

TOP CAUSES OF ILL HEALTH IN AUSTRALIA
1 - low back pain
2 - major depressive disorder
3 - other musculoskeletal disorders such as shoulder injuries and fractures from osteoporosis
4 - neck pain
5 - migraine
6 - anxiety disorders
7 - chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
8 - asthma
9 - age-related and other hearing loss
10 - diabetes mellitus.

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