A study published in the Mayo Clinic Proceedings has shown that those living in socioeconomically deprived areas of the U.S. are more likely to die a premature death due to heart issues.
The study used county-level data from across the U.S. to assess premature death due to heart disease between 1999 and 2018 for adults aged 25 to 64. They then used metrics of socioeconomic deprivation, including two established indexes, to measure levels of socioeconomic deprivation and associate those levels with cardiovascular mortality. Socioeconomic deprivation encompasses a wide range of factors such as education, income, employment, and local environment.
Levels of socioeconomic deprivation were significantly associated with premature heart disease mortality, even when other traditional risk factors were taken into account. Between 40% and 44% of county-level premature cardiovascular mortality was explained by socioeconomic deprivation. It is well-known that poorer communities face inequalities related to access to healthcare and medical resources, and this study highlighted how those inequalities impact health outcomes.
One of the study’s authors noted that inequalities in the U.S. have been ignored for far too long. Many inequalities are ingrained in poorer communities, and these inequalities can significantly impact mortality rates. In addition to inequalities based on location, previous studies have indicated that clinicians’ perceptions of their patients’ socioeconomic statuses can impact the quality of care the patients receive. Those with low socioeconomic status receive fewer diagnostic tests and medications for chronic diseases. Their access to healthcare can also be limited due to costs and insurance coverage. As the study author noted, no one’s location or income should impact their access to medical care and a healthier life.