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Approved research

Characterising multimorbidity and frailty associated with cardiometabolic disease

Principal Investigator: Dr Richard Cubbon
Approved Research ID: 59585
Approval date: March 30th 2020

Lay summary

Advances in disease prevention and treatment mean that our society is rapidly aging and people are often living with multiple long-term diseases, a phenomenon called multimorbidity. Disease and the normal ageing process can reduce the ability of key body systems to respond to the day to day stresses we encounter; for example people with heart failure and also the very elderly are less able to tolerate strenuous exercise or an infection. This reduced tolerance of stress is sometimes referred to as frailty, and is associated with poorer quality of life, increased healthcare utilisation and reduced survival rates. Multimorbidity does not develop at random, but instead is more likely to come in clusters, such as people with heart failure also having diabetes. This accumulation of diseases is linked to greater change of frailty, but the relationship between common disease clusters and frailty is not well explored. The UK Biobank dataset allows an opportunity to address these knowledge gaps, with potential implications for understanding of disease clustering and its impact on people and society. Due to our expertise in the field, we aim to focus on common cluters of cardiovascular (like heart failure and high blood pressure) and metabolic diseases (like diabetes or obesity) in a project that is expected to last 3 or more years. We intend to identify important clusters of these diseases and also explore how they link with frailty. We hope to identify risk factors for developing these clusters, understand better what defines and differentiates the clusters, and observe how these groups of people progress in future in terms of health care use and long-term survival. It is hoped that these data may help to guide preventative and therapeutic approaches for individuals and inform public health and social care policy.