Cardio Metabolic Health Congress – Official Blog

The Cardiometabolic Challenge: Navigating a Syndemic 

The overlap of the COVID-19 pandemic with persistently rising rates of obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and other cardiometabolic health conditions has drastically exacerbated the virus death toll. The prevalence of chronic and infectious disease alongside large-scale public health failures have contributed to the adverse outcomes of the unprecedented health crisis, resulting in what The Lancet’s medical journal editor-in-chief, Richard Horton, refers to as a “syndemic.” Defined as the aggregation of two or more concurrent or sequential disease clusters, a syndemic attacks population health on multiple levels of vulnerability, making it extremely difficult to mitigate as evidenced by the current health landscape.

As the past year has shown, the prevailing cardiometabolic disease epidemic within the United States had a profound impact on the population’s COVID-19 mortality rate as well as its ability to control further viral resurgence. Making matters worse, the virus has demonstrated a significant negative impact on obesity, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes presenting a challenge to come in cardiometabolic medicine post-pandemic. What experts have deemed the “impending tsunami of cardiometabolic disease” as part of the COVID-19 aftermath will have worldwide effects expected to last for many years to come and with it, a wave of death and disability of shocking proportion that requires immediate attention and solutions.

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National Public Health Week: The Cardiometabolic Clinician’s Role in Public Health 

Taking place between April 5-11, 2021, National Public Health Week celebrates the importance of public health. This year, the week presents an opportunity to take a closer look at the particular challenges presented in the past year across the globe through a public health lens. In honor of this initiative, CMHC highlights the role of the cardiometabolic clinician in the promotion and support of population health and public health initiatives.

Currently, an estimated 47 million people in the United States are living with cardiometabolic disease and many more suffer from combinations of risk factors that predispose them to future illness. Rising rates of cardiometabolic disease as well as the high burden of disease – on population health and socioeconomic factors among others – there is a need to shift healthcare from a treatment-based approach to one that prioritizes prevention. Previously, cardiometabolic professionals have predominantly focused on improving survival rates in patients diagnosed with disease and ensuring the best possible health outcomes. Although this has greatly improved mortality rates, a treatment-based approach to care contributes to healthcare inefficiencies and inequities rather than optimizing public health.

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