More than 41 million disability-adjusted life years lost to skin diseases

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Excluding mortality, skin diseases are the fourth largest cause of disability worldwide.

Skin diseases remain a major cause of disability worldwide, with the Global Burden of Disease 2013 report showing skin and subcutaneous diseases were the 18th leading cause of global disability-adjusted life years (DALYs).

Data for the report were drawn from more than 4,000 sources including medical literature, population-based disease registries, hospital data, studies and autopsy data.

The findings, published in JAMA Dermatology, show skin diseases accounted for 1.79 per cent of the global burden of disease as measured in DALYS from 306 diseases and injuries in 2013, with skin and subcutaneous diseases responsible for 41.6 million DALYS that year. The burden from skin diseases ranked directly behind iron deficiency anaemia (43.7 million DALYs), tuberculosis (49.8 million DALYs), and sense organ diseases (54.4 million DALYs).

Excluding mortality, years lived with disability (YLDs) from skin diseases (36.4 million) are larger than those caused by diabetes mellitus (29.5 million) and migraines (28.9 million).

The skin diseases with the highest DALYs were: dermatitis (9.3 million DALYs), acne vulgaris (7.2 million DALYs), urticaria (hives, 4.7 million DALYs), psoriasis (4.7 million DALYs), viral skin diseases (such as viral warts, 4 million DALYs)), and fungal skin diseases (3.8 million DALYs).

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