Morbidity and mortality: what is the difference?


Morbidity and mortality are two terms that are often confused. Morbidity refers to a disease or illness. Mortality refers to death. Both terms are often used in statistics .

This article explains the difference between morbidity and mortality. You also look for ways to prevent illness and protect your health.

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What is morbidity?

Morbidity is any unhealthy condition. It can be related to a physical or mental illness.

Incidence often refers to chronic (long-term) and age- related diseases. These conditions can get worse over time and reduce your quality of life.

A person with a high incidence may not live as long as a healthy person. However, morbidity does not always mean that you face immediate death. If the disease worsens over time, it can increase the risk of death.

What is mortality?

When an epidemiologist uses the term mortality, he generally refers to the number of deaths caused by an event or disease over a given period of time.

Researchers often speak of "death rates." The death rate defines the number of deaths as a proportion of a larger group of people. For example, a disease can cause "150 deaths per 100,000 people a year."

What are comorbidities?

Comorbidities mean that a person has more than one medical condition. Concomitant diseases do not always have the same cause, but they can occur together and exacerbate each other.

For example, obesity , depression , and diabetes often go together. But these health conditions do not necessarily have the same cause.


Morbidity and mortality are not the same. Morbidity is a disease or loss of function of your body or mind. Mortality means death. Someone can have several conditions at the same time. The disease does not necessarily lead to death.

The most common diseases

About 75% of deaths in the US in 2019 were caused by:

Seven of the top ten causes of death are chronic or chronic diseases. These diseases increase the risk of death.

The number of people with chronic or long-term illnesses remains roughly the same. However, in recent years there has been an increase in infectious diseases. A more infectious disease means a higher incidence.

When an event or disease causes more deaths than expected, it is called "excess mortality." COVID-19 is a good example of a disease causing increased mortality. Data shows that in some heavily affected countries, COVID-19 caused 50% more deaths than expected in a specific time period.

The researchers also say that COVID-19 caused a reduction in life expectancy in the United States during 2020, especially among blacks and non-Hispanic blacks.

Foodborne illnesses, foodborne infections, and sexually transmitted diseases are also increasing the incidence in the United States.

Disease prevention

The incidence rate could decrease if more people undergo early medical check-ups . Early diagnosis can improve quality of life. Early treatment can mean that people recover faster.

If people are diagnosed and treated early, they may have fewer complications. Your risk of dying from the disease can also be reduced.

Morbidity also decreases when people are educated and have access to quality health care. For example, one way to reduce the incidence of disease in pregnant women is to ensure access to family planning education. Safe abortion, prenatal care during pregnancy, and postpartum care after delivery also help.


Most deaths in the United States are caused by various chronic diseases. If people become aware of these conditions, they can prevent them. Early health screenings can keep people healthy too.


Morbidity and mortality are not the same. Morbidity refers to any unhealthy condition. Mortality refers to death.

You may have several medical conditions and they may not increase your risk of death, unless they get worse over time. You can prevent some diseases by learning about healthy habits and getting regular checkups.

Get the word of drug information

People live longer. Improving health education and access to preventive services is essential to stay healthy for longer. With good medical information and regular check-ups, people can develop healthy habits before signs of illness appear.

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