What We’re Reading: Global Oral Health Status Report; Predictive Value of Cholesterol Varies by Race; Disparities for People With Impaired Vision

A report from the World Health Organization highlights the global burden of oral diseases; study shows the predictive value of a “good” cholesterol level varies between Black and White patients; CDC report suggests people with impaired vision are not receiving proper health care.

WHO Report Folds in Universal Oral Health Care Conversation

The World Health Organization (WHO) released its new Global Oral Health Status report, which provides the first comprehensive picture of global oral disease burden and highlights challenges and opportunities to accelerate progress towards universal coverage for oral health, STAT reported. The WHO report includes data of 194 countries’ oral disease caseload and mortality rates, and how prevalence varies across the globe. According to the report, approximately 45% or 3.5 billion people globally are affected by oral disease at some point in their life, with the most common being tooth decay or loss, severe gum disease, and oral cancers. This report supports a goal of universal oral health care coverage by 2030 set by the World Health Assembly earlier this year.

Predictive Value of “Good” Cholesterol Level Varies Between Black, White Patients

A study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology found the predictive value of “good” cholesterol levels vary by race, Reuters reported. According to the study, low levels of "good" high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol were linked with higher risk of developing cardiac problems, but only in White participants. Contrary to past assumptions, low HDL levels were not linked to an increased risk of heart disease in Black participants. However, White participants with HDL levels below 40 mg/dL had a 22% higher risk of coronary heart disease compared with participants with higher HDL levels. Additionally, high HDL levels, defined as more than 60 mg/dL, were not linked with lower coronary heart disease risks in either race, even though high levels were previously thought to be protective.

CDC Analysis Highlights Health Care Disparities for People With Impaired Vision

An analysis by the CDC suggests people with impaired vision are not getting the proper health care they need, The Washington Post reported. The study looked at 2018 data from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, which collects information from about 400,000 US adults per year, and about 5% of participants that year reported being blind or having serious difficulty with their vision. The study showed that 50.2% of people with impaired vision said they had fair or poor general health compared with 16.8% of people without impaired vision, and were less likely to have health insurance or a regular provider and more likely to report having other disabilities. A major finding was that people with impaired vision were more than twice as likely to have an unmet health need due to cost, with 29.2% of participants with impaired vision reporting this concern compared with 12.6% of participants without impaired vision.

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