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GBE Booklets

The last booklet was published in March 2017. The booklets deal with specific topics and issues that are given a high priority in health policy. They target health policy-makers, healthcare professionals and scientific experts, but also give the general public an opportunity to learn about health issues. The data and information in the booklets is presented in a scientifically well-founded, action-oriented and clear way. The booklets are available until 2010.

Blindness and visual impairment

Blindness and visual impairment are usually caused by eye diseases. In Germany, eye diseases are predominantly attributed to three conditions: age-related macular degeneration, glaucoma and diabetic retinopathy.


Hepatitis C

Hepatitis C is a liver disease caused by a blood-borne virus. Hepatitis C virus infection develops to chronic infection in most cases, which represents the leading cause of liver cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma. Being one of the most common infectious diseases worldwide, hepatitis C has great medical, epidemiological and health economic impact.


Mortality, Cause-of-Death Statistics and Regional Differences

In Germany the mortality rate has fallen sharply over the last 20 years, more so in the former east Germany than in the west, so that a convergence has taken place. The main remaining discrepancy between east and west is among 15- to 64-year-old men.


Depressive disorders

Depression is one of the most common mental disorders. The individual and social consequences can be significant. Analyses of data from the 1998 Federal Health Survey show that quite a sizeable proportion of the population, especially women, are affected by depressive disorders. The prevalence of depression is also reflected in statistics on the number of people who are off work sick: they show that there has been a steady increase in mental illnesses in recent years.



Schizophrenia is one of the most severe of mental illnesses. It affects about 1% of the population worldwide at least once in their lives. The onset age is usually between 18 and 35. Schizophrenia is among the ten diseases worldwide involving the highest number of "years of life lived with disability", and for many patients it involves a considerable reduction in the quality of life.


Inflammatory rheumatic diseases

This GBE booklet deals with three main forms of inflammatory rheumatic disorders in adults: rheumatoid arthritis (RA), ankylosing spondylitis (AS) and systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). It also has a separate section on inflammatory rheumatic diseases of childhood, focusing on the example of juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA). Important information on the epidemiology, treatment and consequences of these disease groups is available from the German rheumatic registries ("Rheumatologische Kerndokumentationen") for adults and children.


Costs of illness

In 2006, an average of €2,870 per inhabitant was spent in Germany on maintaining the population's health and alleviating the consequences of disease. The amount spent nationwide totalled €236 billion. Another cost aspect to be taken into consideration is the loss to the labour market caused by inability to work, disability and mortality; this came to 4 million work years. Diseases of the circulatory system were the biggest cost factor (€35.2 billion). The second most costly category (€32.7 billion) was diseases of the digestive system. The chapter with the third highest costs was mental illness and behavioural disorders at €26.7 billion.