Investing in CHRONIC & INFECTIOUS DISEASE prevention and management in St. Louis
Chronic diseases are long-lasting conditions that impact an individual’s health and well-being. Although these diseases generally cannot be cured, they can be prevented and managed. The chances are good that you or someone you know is dealing with a chronic disease, such as heart disease, cancer, diabetes, or asthma.
While chronic diseases have many causes, infectious diseases are caused by an organism, such as a bacteria or a virus. Although we’ve seen many improvements in prevention, care, and management over the last century, infectious diseases like pneumonia are still a major cause of death and disability and some, like the measles, have shown rises even though vaccinations are effective prevention methods.
While chronic and infectious diseases shape the overall health of our region, they do not affect everyone equally. With the growing awareness that the conditions in which people live, learn, work, and play have a significant impact on their health, we are learning that an individual’s race and ZIP code may be a better determinant of their risk for disease than their genetic code. In the St. Louis area, African Americans have a higher rate of risk factors, such as hypertension and obesity, and are diagnosed more frequently with chronic diseases than whites. For example, twice as many African Americans have asthma as whites. The choice between a healthy and unhealthy behavior is often heavily influenced by an individual’s environment and the options available. There are steps we can take to improve disease prevention and management for all.
NEXT STEPS >
Address social and economic barriers to health in medical settings and promote expanded roles for community health workers.
- Intervene on socioeconomic status as a key determinant of health outcomes
- Expand and professionalize the role of community health workers
- Engage additional stakeholders from health care and community-based organizations
- Create a master map of where community health workers would be most beneficial
Download resources for CHRONIC & INFECTIOUS DISEASE.
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