WEDNESDAY, May 29, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- The global burden of serious health-related suffering is set to increase 47 percent by 2060, according to a study published online May 22 in The Lancet Global Health.
Katherine E. Sleeman, Ph.D., from the Cicely Saunders Institute of Palliative Care at King's College London, and colleagues projected the future burden of serious health-related suffering by combining World Health Organization mortality projections (2016 to 2060) and estimates of physical and psychological symptom prevalence for 20 conditions most often linked to symptoms requiring palliative care.
The researchers found that an estimated 48 million people (47 percent of all deaths globally) will die with serious health-related suffering by 2060, representing an 87 percent increase from 26 million in 2016. In all regions, serious health-related suffering will increase; low-income countries will have the largest proportional rise (155 percent increase). Among people aged 70 years and older, serious health-related suffering will increase most rapidly (183 percent increase). It will be driven in absolute terms by increases in cancer deaths (16 million people; 109 percent increase). Dementia will have the highest proportional increase in serious health-related suffering (6 million people; 264 percent increase).
"Immediate and concerted action by governments to fully integrate palliative care into universal health coverage is essential to mitigate against catastrophic weakening of health systems, and to alleviate the suffering of millions of patients and their families," the authors write.