• Sven Jungmann

Disease burden

Disease burden quantifies the impact of a specific health condition by measuring the gap between the current health of a population and an ideal one (free of disability or disease into old age). The metrics used in relation to disease burden refer to the number of years lost (YLDs) as a result of disease or disability, and are further categorized into quality-adjusted life years (QALYs) or disability-adjusted life years (DALYs). These are calculated from measuring various indicators, including mortality, rate of disease (morbidity), financial cost, etc.

An example of disease burden calculation:

1 DALY (one disability-adjusted life years) = 1 YLD (one year of healthy life lost)


  • Environmental burden of disease: How many DALYs can be associated with environmental factors

  • Work-related burden of disease: How many DALYs (and deaths) can be associated with occupational risks

As an innovator, it’s important to look at different disease burdens to identify high-cost (in terms of life, quality of life, financial costs) diseases or conditions and develop solutions that can mitigate their impact on society and healthcare systems and reduce premature disability and/or mortality.

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