What is a syndemic and why is it more dangerous than...


Recently, the physician and editor of The Lancet, Richard Horton, brought to public opinion a term coined by the anthropologist Merrill Singer in the 1990s: sindemia. The meaning of this word would be a confluence of diseases and social factors, which aggravate the effects of each pathology in a health emergency scenario.

According to Singer, a syndemic is the sum of two or more epidemics or outbreaks of concurrent or sequential diseases in a population with biological interactions, which exacerbate the prognosis and burden of the disease.

sindemia.jpg

In this sense, Richard Horton He explained that the coronavirus, and the disease it transmits in humans, Covid-19, is not a pandemic and that is why the health, public and political approach has been wrong. In this way, it generates a new concept for the disease: the Covid-19 it would be a syndicate.

The director of the School of Public Health of the Universidad Mayor, Lorena Hoffmeinster, explained:

A syndemic refers to when different diseases or health conditions are added, and that given their biological characteristics they interact with each other and with other social conditions, causing the damage of each one or all of them to increase or exacerbate in certain groups A syndemic refers to when different diseases or health conditions are added, and that given their biological characteristics they interact with each other and with other social conditions, causing the damage of each one or all of them to increase or be exacerbated in certain groups

Later, the lawyer added: “The possibility of this concentration and interaction being generated increases in populations that present unfavorable social conditions or significant inequalities.” For her part, in her article, Richard Horton explains that currently we live in two categories of diseases.

  • The first: respiratory disease Covid-19, produced from coronaviur.s
  • And the second: the group of non-contagious pathologies that complicate the first such as hypertension, obesity, cancer, diabetes, pre-existing respiratory and cardiovascular diseases.

The sum of these diseases in the context of inequality causes the aggravation of each one of them separately The sum of these diseases in the context of inequality causes the aggravation of each one of them separately

In this way, Richard Horton explains why it is important to point to the Covid-19 as a syndemic: “It implies underlining their social origin, putting the magnifying glass on the vulnerability suffered by the elderly, ethnic minorities and essential workers.”


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