Understanding cardiometabolic diseases and their costly effects

How cardiometabolic diseases changed the landscape of American health

Cardiometabolic diseases are on the rise. About one in ten US residents have diabetes, and half of them don’t even know it.

In this alarming reality, Americans’ health, money, and quality of life are all at stake. Cardiometabolic conditions can compound if left unchecked, causing serious — and costly — health problems down the line.

To combat this growing health crisis, it’s critical that health plan and benefit leaders fully understand all the risks and costs associated with cardiometabolic diseases. But, let’s start with the basics.

What is cardiometabolic disease?

Cardiometabolic conditions involve both the heart and the metabolism. They’re a spectrum of conditions that start with insulin resistance, progressing to metabolic syndrome, pre-diabetes, and eventually more severe conditions like cardiovascular disease (CVD) and type 2 diabetes.

It’s really common for those with chronic conditions to deal with not just one, but multiple health issues. Obesity, anxiety, diabetes, depression and a wealth of other conditions often play into one another. That’s why people need providers who can take a multi-pronged approach to help them manage it all.

America has a cardiometabolic problem. And it’s getting worse.

One in five people will die from cardiovascular disease, making it the leading cause of death in the United States. Diabetes, another cardiometabolic disease, also makes the top ten list. America, its leaders, and its healthcare system face a big challenge in slowing the momentum.

The costs of cardiometabolic care and its long-term consequences

The cost of treating these conditions is high. For heart disease alone, healthcare costs average at $229 billion each year. When considering the entire economic picture, diabetes care results in $327 billion dollars in care and lost productivity.

This reality isn’t going away; in fact, it’s getting worse. A third of Americans already have a metabolic-related health condition. And yet, the number of people at risk for diabetes continues to rise. Some models predict that healthcare costs will rise to $622 billion by 2030, and diagnoses rising by 54%.

Right now, over 11% of American adults live with diabetes and an additional 38% have pre-diabetes.

Comorbidities between cardiometabolic conditions remain extremely common. For those diagnosed with diabetes,

  • 69% had high blood pressure
  • 44% had high cholesterol
  • 39% had chronic kidney disease
  • 12% reported having vision impairment or blindness

We know preventative care is cheaper than high-acuity care, so leaders have to understand the risk factors for their populations.

Understand when your population is at risk

Cardiometabolic conditions are caused by a variety of risk factors, including high cholesterol (dyslipidemia), high blood pressure (hypertension), obesity, inflammation, and insulin resistance.

Often, risk factors and diseases can exacerbate other conditions as well. Mental health can be affected just as much as physical wellbeing. For example, it’s understood that diabetes and depression are closely linked. That’s why it’s important to treat a person as a whole, rather than just a single symptom.

Risk factors can also include how old you are, your sex, and what conditions your parents may have passed onto you. Obesity or habits like smoking can also increase the likelihood of heart conditions or diabetes. To get answers, healthcare providers offer genetic testing. This helps them see a person’s risk for type 2 diabetes with glucose tolerance tests, glycated hemoglobin, and measures of insulin sensitivity.

Care providers can screen for all cardiometabolic risk factors, including abdominal obesity and inflammation. Then, they’re more likely to correctly identify someone as high-risk than if they just check for more traditional indicators like high blood pressure or high cholesterol. Consistent and early screenings can also be central to preventing long-term complications.

Catching cardiometabolic conditions early, or when a person is only considered at-risk, avoids frustration and reduces costs. Healthcare leaders can take simple steps to help protect their populations from unchecked cardiometabolic diseases. Otherwise, Americans are left at significant risk.

Cardiometabolic care options ready for your population

The reality is that traditional healthcare doesn’t allow for a strategic, multi-pronged approach to co-existing conditions. Hospital staffs are overworked and overwhelmed with full schedules and a lot of patient data. There’s only so much they can do to observe, predict, and successfully address cardiometabolic risks they see in their patients.

But that doesn’t mean there aren’t solutions specifically built to meet those most at risk in your population. In the past decade, healthcare has seen the rise of virtual care platforms built to address diabetes and related metabolic conditions.

We know that a single cardiometabolic disease or risk factor doesn’t exist in a silo. People are much more likely to experience multiple health issues (comorbidities) at once, not only with other cardiometabolic conditions but with mental health challenges as well. So when searching for a cardiometabolic solution that works for your population, it’s important to keep this in mind.

A virtual care solution designed for body and mind

Vida Health is a cardiometabolic care solution that gets results for its members. Members see significant results in weight loss, hypertension severity, diabetes A1C, depression, anxiety, and more.

This is possible because we focus on human-led, tech-enabled experiences for our members. Our care providers range from certified diabetes educators (CDEs) and health coaches to licensed therapists and dieticians. Our providers operate at the top of their licenses. That means your people are getting the level of care they need, maximizing their results without breaking the bank.

Other solutions might forgo a human connection, thinking AI can do the job. We’ve found the opposite to be true. Technology enables our human providers but doesn’t replace them. The humanized healthcare experience keeps our members engaged and getting results.

Plus, they’re able to connect with providers who match their preferences, goals, and conditions until they find the perfect fit. Social, cultural, and language influences are all taken into consideration, and members are empowered to find the right fit.

We recognize that behavior change and medication management have to go hand-in-hand to improve member health. That’s how we get industry-leading outcomes that are rapid and sustainable. In fact, we’re so confident in achieving meaningful outcomes, we put 100% of our fees at risk.

Cardiometabolic diseases pose a great risk to Americans. However, the consequences don’t have to be dire. You can see improved results for your population’s health and reduce wasted time and resources. Make the first move towards increased savings when you take the next step towards reducing cardiometabolic disease and its costly outcomes.

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