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ABSTRACT: In Germany life expectancy is continuously increasing. Differently to the increases in the nineteenth century, which were mainly driven by decreasing mortality from infectious diseases, the recent rise in life expectancy is the result of a mortality decline in all major groups of causes of death. Contrary to mortality, the incidence and prevalence of a large number of diseases, in particular cancer and cardiovascular diseases (CVD), is rising. However, this increase is mainly the result of changes in the population's age structure, differences in lifestyle, improvements in diagnostic techniques, and increasing prevention. Age-standardized death rates and survival rates indicate significant improvements in most of the diseases over the last decades. Important exceptions are cancer of the lung and bronchia for females as well as mental diseases for both sexes. Therefore, these diseases will grow in importance for public health measures in the next decades. A major potential for a further increase in female life expectancy lies in the reduction of CVD mortality. In contrast, decreases in mortality due to various types of cancer, diseases of the respiratory system, and diseases of the digestive system in addition to CVD mortality may lead to a significant rise in male life expectancy. Although declining mortality is strongly linked to an increase in the prevalence of multi-morbidity and the number of years with disability, it is also paralleled by an increase in healthy life years.
Bundesgesundheitsblatt - Gesundheitsforschung - Gesundheitsschutz 04/2012; 55(4):448-58. · 0.72 Impact Factor