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Mental Health Issues Make Up Top 3 Causes of Ill Health in the UAE


Healthcare community to pay more attention to conditions that could burden on both society and economy.

Dubai, United Arab Emirates, December 25, 2014 --(PR.com)-- It may be surprising to find that the top three causes of ill health in the UAE are depression, anxiety and lower back pain. This is a reflection that mental health is a very important part of health and wellbeing. Therefore, it is more of a priority for the healthcare community to pay more attention to conditions that could lead to ill health and disability that are a burden on both society and the economy.

The causes of premature death in the UAE are slightly different; road injury is now the top cause. This is because road injury often causes death in younger people. According to an analysis of the burden of disease, published earlier this year in a study using data from the Global Burden of Diseases, Injuries, and Risk Factors Study 2010 (GBD 2010), in 2010, the three most common causes were ischaemic heart disease, road injuries and strokes. This was the same in 1990.

Based on recent analysis of the GBD study, rather than looking at death, "disability" should be considered. Many diseases and conditions, such as mental disorders, cause poor health but do not always hasten death.

According to Dr Ian Blair, Associate Professor, Institute of Public Health, UAE University, Al Ain, UAE, “Overall health has improved greatly in UAE, in a very short time, matching the economic and social development of the country. The main health challenges facing the UAE are the very high levels of risk factors for chronic diseases. These are excess weight, obesity and diabetes; largely as a result of high energy diet and lack of physical activity in addition to poor road, home and workplace safety, and awareness about variables causing injuries. The other health challenges relate to depression, anxiety and lower back pain.”

Dr Blair will be speaking about the findings from the GDB (Global Burden of Disease) study and other local public health statistics at the Public Health Conference at Arab Health Congress, the region’s largest healthcare exhibition and congress, organized by Informa Life Sciences Exhibitions from 26-29 January 2015 at the Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Center.

“Statistics on health loss in the UAE should be used by health authorities to plan their services. This includes public health services which can have an effect on preventing ill-health rather than treating disease when already present. Health authorities should also invest more in ensuring the heath data that is collected is of high quality and available to researchers,” says Dr Blair.

“I would also like to see stronger partnerships between health authorities and our universities here in the UAE. Partnerships between the two will encourage and sponsor research into the determinants of health loss and allow prevention as well as treatment interventions to be designed, implemented and evaluated.”
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