Cardio-metabolic diseases: we’re all concerned!

To better inform and raise public awareness of one of the major causes of death in France, the IHU ICAN is launching its cardiometabolic barometer (IFOP / IHU ICAN study – September 2023), drawing on its extensive expertise in research and the fight against cardiometabolic diseases.

  • What do the French know about cardiometabolism?
  • How do they view these pathologies?
  • Are they informed about causes and risk factors?

A veritable public health scourge, cardiometabolic diseases have been steadily on the rise in recent years. Today, they represent a major cause of death in France and the 1st cause of death worldwide (source: CépiDc/Inserm).

They include many diseases such as diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular disease (hypertension, thrombosis, cardiomyopathy, stroke, heart failure), liver disease (including hepatic metabolic steatosis or fatty liver disease), and hypercholesterolemia.

How these chronic diseases work is still too little known to the general public, as cardiometabolism is an emerging discipline that requires a high level of expertise. cutting-edge scientific and medical research to understand these complex, interconnected pathologies, linked to an imbalance in the individual’s metabolism and/or to genetic factors. They are very common and often diagnosed too late, as they develop silently in the body.

Yet cardiometabolic diseases concern us all.

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A few figures (in France):

  • Cardiovascular diseases: 5.3 million sufferers, more than 140,000 deaths per year
  • Diabetes: 4 million people treated, 35,000 diabetes-related deaths
  • Obesity: 17% of adults are obese, 47% overweight
  • Hepatic metabolic steatosis (NASH): 18% of the population affected, almost 24% in 2030 (IHU ICAN estimate)

Sources : ameli, Santé publique France

Cardiometabolic diseases, a scourge still too little known

The first lesson to be learned from this study, cardiometabolic diseases are poorly identified by the French: only 38% have heard of them and 10% see exactly what it’s all about. Young women and donors to medical research – two audiences traditionally more aware of health issues – are slightly more likely to declare that they know about pathologies (45% and 55%).

The 38% of French people who say they know about these diseases have only a partial knowledge of them. If they rightly identify heart failure (85%), hypertension (76%) and stroke (67%) as diseases of the cardiometabolic system, they are less than 1 in 2 know that obesity (49%), hypercholesterolemia (47%) and diabetes (37%) also belong to this family of diseases. Non-alcoholic hepatic steatosis (20%) and cirrhosis (12%) are even less closely related to this family.

As a corollary to this poor understanding of cardiometabolic diseases, their contribution to deaths in France is underestimated: 15% of French people declare it as the main cause of death in France, whereas it is one of the main causes after cancer, and the 1st cause of death worldwide.

Cardiometabolic diseases perceived as serious and on the rise

After explaining to respondents what cardiometabolic diseases are, 82% of them agreed that they are serious pathologies, 73% that they have increased over the last ten years, and 73% that they are widespread in the French population. On the other hand, the chronic nature of these pathologies seems to be largely unknown, with 57% of those surveyed explaining that they can now be cured.

It’s also worth noting that 1 in 2 French people believe that cardiometabolic diseases are primarily a matter of individual responsibility (50%), a result that goes hand in hand with the fact that they are perceived as being caused solely by lifestyle.

Well-identified preventive measures and risk factors

Another finding of the study is that cardiometabolic diseases are widely perceived by the French as being caused by lifestyle, with this cause being cited first (51%), far ahead of genetic predisposition (13%) or environmental factors such as pollution (6%).

As a corollary to this, the French believe that public authorities should above all fight against cardiometabolic diseases through campaigns to raise public awareness of lifestyle changes (36%). Conversely, only 15% mention scientific research and 12% the improvement of diagnostic tools, which are essential levers in the knowledge and fight against these diseases.

The French identify preventive health and diet measures fairly well: they believe that a balanced diet (94%), regular physical activity (93%), not smoking (92%) and not drinking too much alcohol (88%) are effective in preventing the onset of cardiometabolic diseases.

They also largely agree on the risk factors, citing being overweight (87%), being a smoker (86%), having a diet rich in fat, salt and sugar (85%) or a stressful lifestyle (82%).

More French people fear cardiovascular disease

The results of the study also show that judgments about the various cardiometabolic pathologies are ambivalent, probably because representations diverge according to the type of disease.

Cardiovascular diseases are now better identified as diseases of the cardiometabolic system, and give rise to a great deal of concern. This type of disease is by far the most worrying (50%), far ahead of hypertension (14%), diabetes (16%), obesity (11%), non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (6%) or hypercholesterolemia (3%).

As a corollary to this, the French feel that these are the diseases that should receive priority attention from the public authorities (46%), ahead of obesity (26%), diabetes (15%), rare metabolic diseases (7%), hypercholesterolemia (3%) and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (3%).

A lack of information about cardiometabolic diseases

Just over a third of French people say they have already been informed about cardiometabolic diseases (37%). In detail, slightly more people over 65 (42%), wealthier people (48%) and donors to medical research (50%) say they have been informed.

Doctors are the main source of information about these diseases (57%), ahead of family and friends (37%), the media (29%) and government communication campaigns.

Who we are?

Created in 2011, IHU ICAN is a scientific cooperation foundation whose main objective is to develop tomorrow’s medicine to combat cardiometabolic diseases. Located in the heart of Europe’s largest public hospital, At the Pitié-Salpêtrière Hospital, the ICAN HCI draws on the expertise of its scientific community. (168 doctors, 261 researchers) and its 3 founders to carry out its missions: AP-HP (Assistance publique – Hôpitaux de Paris), Inserm (Institut national de la santé et de la recherche médicale) and Sorbonne University.

Any questions? Contact us:

  • Francine TROCME
  • Director of Communications and Patronage – IHU ICAN
  • 06 81 64 97 88