Trending News Today: Syphilis Cases on the Rise, Attributed to Social Media

Top news of the day from across the health care landscape.

High-risk pregnancies or complications during childbirth heighten a women’s risk of heart disease by up to 8-fold. According to Kaiser Health News, recent studies suggest heart disease is a long-term threat for pregnant women who develop diabetes or hypertension, or whose babies are born premature. Despite this, physicians are seemingly unaware of the danger and typically do not advise women about the risk or educate them on symptoms, according to KHN. As awareness of the link continues to grow, more collaborative research is being conducted by cardiologists and obstetricians in hopes of reducing and preventing heart disease in women.

As the diabetes epidemic continues in the United States, California officials pledge to dedicate $5 million in prevention campaigns aimed at high-risk individuals. According to the Los Angeles Times, 9% of California residents have diabetes and 46% have prediabetes. Gov Jerry Brown approved $5 million to pay for Medi-Cal recipients to enroll in the Diabetes Prevention Program beginning in July 2018. The program helps individuals lose 5% to 7% of their body weight through healthy eating, exercise, and reducing stress. If prediabetes is not addressed, millions of individuals in California will become diabetic in the next 5 years, likely doubling the state’s diabetes rate, the LA Times reported. Approximately 70% of individuals with prediabetes will become diabetic in their lifetime.

Sexually transmitted infection rates are the highest they have been in the past 2 decades, according to USA Today. Furthermore, syphilis diagnoses—–which was once considered to be an infection of the past––are rising. Public health experts believe the rise in rates can be attributed, in part, to social media and how individuals meet partners online. Philip Chan, director of the HIV/STD Testing and Prevention Services at the Miriam Hospital Immunology Center said it is crucial for dating apps to begin promoting STD awareness and prevention to help combat the rise in infections. Gay dating apps are already ramping up awareness because most syphilis cases are among men who have sex with men and bisexual men, according to Chan. The gay dating app Grindr has a sexual health section where users can list HIV status, as well as the last time they were tested. It also features a link to a sexual health facts page to educate users about HIV and getting tested.