Causes of Deaths in Portugal and Challenges in Prevention

Francisco George


In Portugal, the hope of living, in terms of probability, either at birth or at 65 years old, has reached levels that represent huge gains and certainly reflect the successful initiatives developed in many sectors in the last 30 years. In 2008-2010, the average life expectancy at birth was 79.20 years for men and women. By contrast, in 1980, the average life expectancy at birth was 71.78 years.
Furthermore, premature mortality, defined as occurring before 70 years of age, expressed as rate, represents the likelihood of dying before this age, which is presently of 24.3%, meaning that one in four dies Portuguese citizen before reaching the age of 70. Main cause of deaths and the number of years in the Portuguese population that theoretically stops living when you die before the age of 70 (potential years lost), for both sexes, includes the following: traffic accidents with motor vehicles - 22,550 years; malignant tumor of trachea, bronchus and lung - 19,768 years, vascular brain diseases - 16,070 years, self-injury caused intentionally - 14,753 years. It’s important to analyze these figures and its evolution in order to allow an understanding of their impact and implement effective corrective measures. The contribution of actions and programs to prevent some of the above causes of deaths and potential years lost is still to be objectively interpreted but it is well known the importance of reducing risks factors as tobacco and alcohol consumption, encouraging balanced nutrition in calories and composition, promoting regular physical exercise and improving information and health education on the reduction of many chronic non-communicable diseases, what in turn, reflects in the decline of premature mortality. It is essential to analyze the causes that anticipate the death of the Portuguese population and the cause of these causes, that is, their risk factors and design programs that reduce the exposure of citizens to avoidable risks, which is the essence of all public health programmes.

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