Dr Rachel Nicoll

Chronic Disease: Still no Cures in Sight

by Dr. Rachel Nicoll The developed world doesn’t just have to cope with a Covid pandemic – we also have a pandemic of chronic disease (defined as a condition which is persistent or otherwise long-lasting in its effects and for which there is no cure). A rough rule of thumb is to treat a condition as chronic if it lasts longer than three months; in 2012 this amounted to around 15 million sufferers in the U.K. and will be higher now. Examples of chronic conditions include Type 2 diabetes (T2D), obesity, cardiovascular disease, autoimmune conditions, dementia, lung disease, cancer... the list is endless. Not only have many of these patients been effectively abandoned during the Covid crisis, with appointments cancelled, scans postponed and patients dying at home because they are discouraged from going to hospital, but if they do contract Covid they are likely to fare worse. All the chronic conditions listed above are Covid risk factors, making patients more susceptible to severe Covid and death. Furthermore, many of them are risk factors for other chronic conditions: T2D for cardiovascular disease, obesity for T2D, cardiovascular disease, cancer, dementia, musculoskeletal disorders, mental health disorders and many more. Why is there still no cure for chronic diseases? By ‘cure’, I am not referring to medical management through drugs that have to be...

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December 2022
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