Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Income, Education, Important Factors In Heart Disease Risk

Date:
June 18, 2009
Source:
University of Rochester Medical Center
Summary:
Doctors who ignore the socioeconomic status of patients when evaluating their risk for heart disease are missing a crucial element that might result in inadequate treatment, according to a new study.

Doctors who ignore the socioeconomic status of patients when evaluating their risk for heart disease are missing a crucial element that might result in inadequate treatment, according to a University of Rochester Medical Center study published in the June 2009 American Heart Journal.

The current model that most doctors use to assess risk, known as Framingham Risk Scoring (FRS), does not accurately predict whether a person of low income and/or less than a high school education will develop heart disease or die in the next 10 years, the study found. The FRS tool is limited to measuring data such as overall cholesterol and bad cholesterol levels, blood pressure, age and smoking status.

When socioeconomic factors were added into the FRS risk assessment, however, the proportion of low-income and low-education patients at risk for death or disease during the next 10 years was nearly double that of people with higher socioeconomic status.

Thus, from a clinical perspective, asking about socioeconomic status when evaluating risk factors potentially increases the number of patients eligible for cholesterol-lowering medications, aspirin therapy, and supervised changes in diet and exercise, by about 15 percent, the study said.

"To our knowledge, this is the first study to examine the effect of adding socioeconomic status to the typical risk assessment in the United States," said lead author Kevin Fiscella, M.D., M.P.H., professor of Family Medicine and Community and Preventive Medicine at URMC, and a national expert on disparities in health care.

"We have overwhelming evidence that cholesterol-lowering pills greatly reduce mortality," Fiscella added. "Our study clearly implies that we should recalibrate the threshold for deciding who's eligible for statins, by including socioeconomic status as another risk factor."

Lower SES was defined as having less than a high school education or living on an annual income of approximately $16,000 for a single person or $27,000 for a family of three. Socioeconomic status impacts health in a variety of ways, Fiscella said, including the effects of chronic stress due to being poor, living in less safe environments, and having less access to health care.

Researchers used population data from two sources to study whether the FRS consistently underestimated cardiac disease risk among this group of patients. One group consisted of 12,562 men and women from an ongoing Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities (ARIC) study, and the other group included 10,300 adults from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey linked to the National Death Index. About 30 percent of the people in both samples met the criteria for low socioeconomic status.

The data showed that when medical factors alone (blood pressure, cholesterol, etc.) are used to predict risk of heart disease, persons of higher and lower economic had similar risks. However, the observed cases of heart disease or death among people of lower socioeconomic status were greater, and the discrepancy was not cleared up in the statistical analysis until socioeconomic status was added as a risk factor.

"Ignoring the risk of lower income and education when making treatment decisions may exacerbate existing health care disparities, which have been increasing over time," Fiscella said.

The National Heart Lung and Blood Institute of the National Institutes of Health funded the study.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Rochester Medical Center. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Rochester Medical Center. "Income, Education, Important Factors In Heart Disease Risk." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 18 June 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/06/090616133936.htm>.
University of Rochester Medical Center. (2009, June 18). Income, Education, Important Factors In Heart Disease Risk. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 29, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/06/090616133936.htm
University of Rochester Medical Center. "Income, Education, Important Factors In Heart Disease Risk." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/06/090616133936.htm (accessed July 29, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Deadly Ebola Virus Threatens West Africa

Deadly Ebola Virus Threatens West Africa

AP (July 28, 2014) West African nations and international health organizations are working to contain the largest Ebola outbreak in history. It's one of the deadliest diseases known to man, but the CDC says it's unlikely to spread in the U.S. (July 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
$15B Deal on Vets' Health Care Reached

$15B Deal on Vets' Health Care Reached

AP (July 28, 2014) A bipartisan deal to improve veterans health care would authorize at least $15 billion in emergency spending to fix a veterans program scandalized by long patient wait times and falsified records. (July 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Two Americans Contract Ebola in Liberia

Two Americans Contract Ebola in Liberia

Reuters - US Online Video (July 28, 2014) Two American aid workers in Liberia test positive for Ebola while working to combat the deadliest outbreak of the virus ever. Linda So reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating

Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating

AP (July 28, 2014) Classes are being offered nationwide to encourage African Americans to learn about cooking fresh foods based on traditional African cuisine. The program is trying to combat obesity, heart disease and other ailments often linked to diet. (July 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins