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Heart attacks will be commonplace in young people without fundamental change

16 February 2017


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Doctors in developed countries will routinely treat people in their late teens and 20s for cardiovascular disease if current trends continue, the 2017 World Government Summit heard.

Doctors in developed countries will routinely treat people in their late teens and 20s for cardiovascular disease if current trends continue, the 2017 World Government Summit heard.

Dr Andrew Weil, founder and program director of the Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine, said current healthcare systems were too focused on disease management instead of prevention.

“When I was a medical student, Type II Diabetes was called Adult Onset Diabetes, then we changed the name to Adolescent Onset Diabetes, now we are seeing it in children as young as three,” he said on Day Three of the summit.

Cardiovascular complications relating to Type II Diabetes typically appear 15 to 20 years after the onset of the diabetes, he said, adding that medical professionals, previously taught to automatically rule out heart attacks in young men presenting with chest pains, are now trained to carry out heart checks.

“The United States now spends 18 per cent of its Gross Domestic Product on healthcare, it is predicted to reach 20 per cent in the next few years and that’s unsustainable. We are 37th in health outcomes, on a par with Serbia. We are spending more and more on healthcare, and we have worse and worse outcomes, clearly the message is we are spending money in the wrong way.”

Weil advocated for insurance-funded centres for inpatients to discuss their lifestyles with medical professionals to prevent the onset of disease, as well as integrating techniques, including massage, hypnosis, talk therapy and breathing control techniques, into treatment plans.

The challenge would be persuading those who fund healthcare to rethink current systems and fund studies, he concluded.