Health of Berliners with social gaps

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The average age of Berliners is increasing, as is the need for care

In Berlin, the Health Senate Administration presented the 2010/11 health report to the public. As the Senator for Health, Environment and Consumer Protection in Berlin, Katrin Lompscher (Die Linke) reported on Tuesday, the population of the capital has continued to grow and health is relatively good. However, there is a clear gap between the poorer and richer parts of the city.

The health report 2010/11 shows a clear social gap in the state of health of the population, whereby "in districts with unfavorable social conditions there is also the lowest life expectancy", explained the health senator Lompscher. In addition, due to the aging of the population, the number of people in need of care has risen significantly overall, according to another key statement in the health report. Here, too, the social structure of the neighborhoods plays a significant role.

Surplus births and increasing life expectancy in Berlin Overall, the population of Berlin rose by around 18,000 by the end of 2010 to 3,460,725. In contrast to the national trend, the number of births in Berlin is also higher than the number of deaths. 33,393 children saw the light of day in Berlin in 2010 and 32,234 people died in the same period, the health senator reported and was happy about the new birth surplus. According to Katrin Lompscher, the average life expectancy has also increased further in the past year. According to the health report, the women in Berlin reached an average age of 82 in 2010. The average life expectancy for men was 77 years. However, there is a clear social gap in life expectancy depending on the districts, according to the health senator. Accordingly, people in the Steglitz-Zehlendorf and Charlottenburg-Wilmersdorf districts are the oldest on average, while the average life expectancy is lowest in Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg.

Care needs have been increasing for years With the increasing average age of the Berlin population, according to the health report, the number of people in need of care in the capital has been increasing for years. The number of women in care has increased by 20 percent since 1999, and the need for care among men has even increased by 39 percent, reports health senator Lompscher. In total, 3.9 percent of women or 69,000 female patients and 1.9 percent of men or 32,300 male patients in Berlin are in need of care. When looking at the care levels that reflect the required care effort, the health report shows that more than half of those in need of care are in care level I, around a third of care level II and around 11 percent as severely dependent in care level III. The majority of those in need of severe care are still being cared for at home, according to the statement in the health report. Almost half of women and more than two thirds of men with care level III currently live at home, the health senator explained. The spokeswoman for the Health Senate Administration, Sabine Hermann, added that in Berlin women need an average of 2.2 years of their total life, and men almost four years.

Data from the Kassenärztliche Vereinigung Berlin on the spread of diseases In order to gain a comprehensive overview of the state of health of the population, the billing data of the Kassenärztliche Vereinigung (KV) Berlin were taken into account for the first time as part of this year's health report, if only from 2007. With the help The health senate administration not only wants to use the data obtained to precisely represent the range of illnesses in Berlin, but also to optimize care planning. Broken down according to the types of diagnosis, the data from KV Berlin show that back pain, high blood pressure and visual defects are the most common health complaints in Berlin. In particular, the high prevalence of high blood pressure may be a direct consequence of city life, because in May 2010, scientists from the University of Duisburg-Essen presented research results at a conference of the American Thoracic Society in New Orleans that clearly linked the occurrence of high blood pressure and the air pollution. According to the researchers, a health-damaging effect was found even with particulate matter well below the prescribed legal limits.

Diseases dependent on the social structure of the neighborhoods? The billing data of the Association of Statutory Health Insurance Physicians in Berlin also showed that there are clear spatial differences in chronic and acute illnesses. According to this, type II diabetes treatments, contraception and preventive services such as vaccinations were billed particularly frequently in the east of the capital, while in the west of Berlin mental illnesses such as depression and anxiety disorders were increasingly the cause of treatment. According to the Senator for Health, Environment and Consumer Protection, the current health report also shows the connection between the occurrence of certain diseases and the social environment. In particular, diseases that are directly related to lifestyle via diet, physical activity and mental constitution, such as diabetes, obesity, also known as smoking cough, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) or back pain, are worse in the districts The social senator explained that social structure is relatively widespread. The health report also found again that numerous Berliners weigh too many kilograms. At 46 percent, almost one in two Berliners suffers from obesity, making the capital in second place behind the largest population in Germany, behind Hamburg. Here, too, there were considerable differences between the districts, although the social structure did not play a comparable role to that of illnesses and life expectancy. (fp)

Image: Rolf Handke /

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