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 (YLDs) for a certain disease or disorder.

Murray CJ et al. Disability-adjusted life years (DALYs) for 291 diseases and injuries in 21 regions, 1990-2010: a systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2010. Lancet, 380(9859): 2197-223, 2012.