What is the cost of disease? It is typical to calculate the cost of illness to society by counting the number of deaths. The more people killed, the worse the disease. But when people are disabled by illness, they are losing days of health living. DALYs–Disability-adjusted life years–provide a standard measure to compare the health loss due to different diseases. This approach may make it easier to identify the true cost to society of diseases.
What do you think are the 3 most serious diseases based on mortality rates?
What do you think are the 3 most serious diseases based on DALYs?
Now check your answers with the results reported in the New York Times article: