What are DALYs?

  • The burden of disability associated with a disease or disorder can be measured in units called disability-adjusted life years (DALYs).
  • DALYs represent the total number of years lost to illness, disability, or premature death within a given population.
  • DALYs are calculated by adding the number of years of life lost to the number of years lived with disability for a certain disease or disorder.

US Burden of Disease Collaborators. The state of US health, 1990-2010: burden of diseases, injuries, and risk factors. JAMA, 310(6): 591-608, 2013.