A new study led by UCL researchers has identified patterns in how common health conditions occur together in the same people, using data from 4 million patients in England.
With advancing age, millions of people live with multiple conditions, sometimes referred to as multimorbidity, and the proportion of people affected in this way is expected to increase in the coming decades. Nevertheless, medical education and training, provision of health careClinical guidelines and research have evolved to focus on one disease at a time.
The UK Academy of Medical Sciences and Chief Medical Officer (CMO) have recognized this problem and have set themselves the challenge of investigating which diseases coexist in the same people and why.
In the new study, published in Lancet digital healthThe team used data from routine health records to systematically identify clustering patterns of 308 common physical and mental health conditions among men and women of different ages and ethnicities.
Some patterns found include: heart failure often coexists with hypertension, atrial fibrillationosteoarthritis, stable angina, myocardial infarction, chronic kidney diseasetype 2 diabetes and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
Hypertension was most strongly associated with kidney disorders in people 20 to 29 years of age, but with dyslipidemia, obesity, and type 2 diabetes in people 40 years and older.
Breast cancer was associated with different comorbidities in individuals of different ethnicities, asthma with different comorbidities between the sexes, and bipolar disorder with different comorbidities at younger compared to older ages.
The findings, the researchers say, provide the data and resources to help improve the health and care planning of patients in England living with more than one condition.
Co-author Professor Aroon Hingorani (UCL Institute of Cardiovascular Sciences) said: “Information from minorities Ethnic groups and younger people have often been missing from multimorbidity studies, but by using various electronic health records, we present a more inclusive and representative perspective on multimorbidity. This is an area where the NHS electronic health records and data science can generate important information.
Professor Spiros Denaxas (UCL Institute of Health Informatics) said: “Millions of people live with multiple diseases, but our understanding of how and when they occur is limited. This research project is the first step in understanding how these diseases occur. diseases and identify them. how to treat them better.”
The study includes accessible tools to help users visualize patterns of disease co-occurrence, even for diseases that cluster more frequently than expected by chance, providing an entry point to investigate common risk factors and treatments.
The findings should help patients to better understand their disease, clinicians to better plan the management of patients with multimorbidity, healthcare providers to optimize service delivery, policymakers to plan resource allocation and researchers to develop new drugs or use existing drugs to treat several diseases together.
Valerie Kuan et al, Identifying and visualizing patterns of comorbidity and multimorbidity in NHS patients England: a population-based study, Lancet digital health (2022). DOI: 10.1016/S2589-7500(22)00187-X
University College of London
Citation: Mapping the hidden connections between diseases (2022, December 2) Retrieved December 3, 2022 from
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