Poor at Higher Risk of Heart Disease Death

Coronary disease deaths are higher in poor communities

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) In addition to financial struggles, those that live in poor neighborhoods also may be getting shortchanged when it comes to protecting the health of their heart.

Individuals who reside in poor neighborhoods are at a higher risk of dying of coronary heart disease outside a hospital as compared to those who live in wealthier neighborhoods.

"Look for social resources and reduced price health services."

Randi Foraker, an assistant professor of epidemiology and cardiovascular medicine at Ohio State University and lead author of the study, revealed that it did not matter which community individuals lived in, those residing in lower socioeconomic neighborhoods still tended to die outside a hospital at a higher rate.

Researchers obtained data for 3,743 out-of-hospital deaths from death certificates where the cause of death was classified as fatal coronary heart disease. Of those, 2,191 were considered sudden cardiac death where the individual likely died within an hour of experiencing symptoms.

The data was provided by the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities study sponsored by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute. The research was conducted between 1992 and 2002 in four communities in Maryland, Minnesota, Mississippi and North Carolina.

Investigators later used addresses to determine where the deceased had resided. U.S. Census data was used to determine whether individuals were of low, medium or high socioeconomic status. That was determined through household income, the percentage of residents below the federal poverty line or with female heads of households and education level.

Researchers found that women were more likely to be affected than men, regardless of race. The research did not examine the reason though previous studies have suggested poor individuals may have limited access to health care and social support.

The study is published in a recent issue of the journal Annals of Epidemiology.

Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
September 22, 2011
Last Updated:
September 24, 2011