Study: The world is caught in a “syndemic” of chronic diseases and covid-19

“Covid-19 is an acute health emergency over a chronic one,” said Richard Horton, editor-in-chief of The Lancet.


The world is caught in a perfect storm of rising rates of chronic diseases, persistent infections and public health failures that have allowed deaths to escalate during the covid-19 pandemic, according to a comprehensive global human health study.

The emergence and overlap of SARS-CoV-2 with a sustained global increase in chronic conditions such as obesity and diabetes – as well as additional environmental risks such as air pollution – have exacerbated the number of deaths from coronavirus, the document stated.

The Global Burden of Disease (GBD) study, published in The Lancet, is the most comprehensive of its kind.

It analyzed 286 causes of death, 369 illnesses and injuries, and 87 risk factors in 204 countries and territories to provide insight into the underlying health of the world’s population and the impact of Covid-19.

“Covid-19 is an acute health emergency over a chronic one,” said Richard Horton, editor-in-chief of The Lancet. He described the coronavirus pandemic combined with high global rates of obesity, diabetes and other chronic diseases as a “syndemic.”

The study found that the leading causes of poor health in people aged 50 and over worldwide were ischemic heart disease, strokes and diabetes. In the youngest people (10 to 49 years old), injuries caused by traffic accidents, HIV / AIDS, low back pain and depressive disorders predominated.

It also noted that the rise in chronic diseases, coupled with the failure of public health to address preventable risk factors, had left populations vulnerable to health emergencies such as the coronavirus pandemic.

“The ‘syndemic’ nature of the threat we face demands that we not only address each affliction, but also urgently address the underlying social inequalities that shape them,” Horton said.

He said that chronic conditions like high blood pressure, high blood sugar, obesity and high cholesterol suffered by millions of people around the world have played a key role in driving the more than 1 million deaths. caused by covid-19 to date.

Those conditions, driven by unhealthy diets and inadequate levels of exercise, “will continue to shape health in all countries after the pandemic subsides,” he warned.


Leave a Comment