TREATING NON-COMMUNICABLE DISEASE IN A COMMUNICABLE DISEASE PANDEMIC

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Never in the history of the medical world has the understanding of communicable diseases spread as fast and as wide as during the COVID-19 pandemic. Social media platforms, online news websites and company emailers have exploded with educational material on how communicable diseases transmit, infect and contaminate.

But the ones most at risk, are people dealing with Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs). In a recent interview with NBC News, Dr Joshua Denson, a pulmonary and critical care medicine physician in New Orleans, stipulated that the majority of those being affected by the pneumonia-like Corona Virus “seem to be people that are obese, have high blood pressure, and usually have Type 2 diabetes. I can tell you the ones that are doing the worst have those three problems.”

Research has recently revealed that the higher case fatality rates are attributed to

10.5% for cardiovascular disease, 7.3% for diabetes, 6.3% for chronic respiratory disease, 6.0% for hypertension, and 5.6% for cancer1.

South African Specialist Cardiologist, Dr Riaz Motara echoes this sentiment “People who are dealing with cancer, hypertension, lung disease, diabetes, and heart disease have weaker immune systems and are more susceptible to severe infection. It is imperative that patients with chronic diseases are closely monitored and managed”.

Following governmental regulations to self-isolate, doctor practices are increasingly closing their doors to patients, encouraging them to stay at home, and consult telephonically. “Home-monitoring is no longer an option,” says Dr Riaz Motara, ”but a requirement for survival”.

As chronic lifestyle diseases continue to be the No.1 cause of disability and premature death throughout the world, there is a greater need to move beyond drug prescription and generalised wellness; and to focus on patient-centric home-monitoring solutions that:

  • Improve patient compliance and adherence
  • Improve long-term treatment outcomes
  • Enhance patient-doctor relationship
  • Reduce hospitalisation

In an era of the quantified self, practitioners need to look at equipping the patient with the tools to actively manage their own health, resulting in improved clinical outcomes and efficiencies, especially in surviving the Corona Virus.

Reference:

Ref: Wu Z, McGoogan JM. Characteristics of and important lessons from the coronavirus disease 2019 (covid-19) outbreak in China: summary of a report of 72 314 cases from the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention. JAMA. Published online February 24, 2020.

 https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/fullarticle/2762130. Accessed February 25, 2020.

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