Evidence on trends in prevalence of disease and disability can clarify whether countries are experiencing a compression or expansion of morbidity. An expansion of morbidity as indicated by disease have appeared in Europe and other developed regions. It is likely that better treatment, preventive measures and increases in education levels have contributed to the declines in mortality and increments in life expectancy. This paper examines whether there has been an expansion of morbidity in Catalonia (Spain). It uses trends in mortality and morbidity from major causes of death and links of these with survival to provide estimates of life expectancy with and without diseases and functioning loss. We use a repeated cross-sectional health survey carried out in 1994 and 2011 for measures of morbidity; mortality information comes from the Spanish National Statistics Institute. Our findings show that at age 65 the percentage of life with disease increased from 52% to 70% for men, and from 56% to 72% for women; the expectation of life unable to function increased from 24% to 30% for men and 40% to 47% for women between 1994 and 2011. These changes were attributable to increases in the prevalences of diseases and moderate functional limitation. Overall, we find an expansion of morbidity along the period. Increasing survival among people with diseases can lead to a higher prevalence of diseases in the older population. Higher prevalence of health problems can lead to greater pressure on the health care system and a growing burden of disease for individuals.
Solé-Auró, A (RFA-IREA); Alcañiz, M. (RFA-IREA)