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US disease burden expected to get heavier over the next 20 years

The likelihood of age- and lifestyle-related diseases—including cardiovascular diseases, cancers, and neurological disorders—is expected to increase by about 20 percent through 2040. However, the incidence of chronic respiratory diseases is likely to drop.

Over next 20 years, US disease burden expected to increase by ~20% as age- and lifestyle-related diseases rise (chart)

Over the next 20 years, the US disease burden is expected to increase by ~20 percent as age- and lifestyle-related diseases rise.

Baseline disease-burden forecast. Letters A–V act as a key to circles of varying sizes on a scatter chart.
Disease, sorted by likelihood of incidence with age, high to low Change in disease burden, % (DALYs1) 2020 disease burden DALYs, approximate relative size among the diseases
B Cardiovascular diseases 7 45
C Chronic respiratory diseases -12 24
R Sense organ diseases 35 20
A Cancers 19 48
D Diabetes and kidney diseases 54 35
L Neurological disorders 51 35
E Digestive diseases 30 14
J Musculoskeletal disorders 21 38
V Unintentional injuries 12 23
S Skin and subcutaneous diseases 14 22
P Respiratory infections and tuberculosis 23 16
I Mental disorders 6 31
F Enteric infections 81 8
U Transport injuries 12 20
O Other noncommunicable diseases 17 35
T Substance-use disorders 37 30
Q Self-harm and interpersonal violence -12 18
M Nutritional deficiencies 12 5
K Neglected tropical diseases and malaria 28 1
N Other infectious diseases 22 6
G HIV/AIDS and sexually-transmitted infections -7 6
H Maternal and neonatal disorders -15 12


1DALY = disability-adjusted life year.

Source: Global Burden of Disease Database 2016, Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME); McKinsey Global Institute analysis

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To read the article, see “How prioritizing health is a prescription for US prosperity,” October 5, 2020.