Heart failure is a chronic disease that affects the pumping ability of the heart. The effects are irreversible, though some treatment options could increase your life span.
A recent study published in the Journal of Cardiac Failure indicates that the death rate from heart failure is not evenly distributed in the U.S. Most cases are reported in poorer regions.
Scientists at University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center, Ohio, analyzed nearly 1,255,000 deaths from the condition from over 3,000 counties from 1999 to 2018.
The research used two indices of social deprivation: the SDI or Social Deprivation Index based on housing and income, and the ADI or Area Deprivation Index based on education, poverty, and employment.
Results show that, on average, the death rate by heart failure was 25.5 deaths per 100,000 people per county.
Nevertheless, the numbers are higher in areas with socioeconomic deprivation.
Scientists suggested that this difference did not change much from 1999 to 2018.
Many factors might contribute to the higher risk of death from heart failure in poor regions. These include poor health literacy and low access to substandard care and healthcare.
Also, they note that the success of treatment depends on whether patients adhere to a costly and complex drug plan.
Regardless of these factors, the link between heart failure mortality and poverty is strong. This indicates that fighting social deprivation can be effective in lowering the death rate from this condition.
Public health officials suggest that dealing with major risk factors can also lower mortality. These include diabetes, obesity, heart valve issues, heart attacks, and hypertension.
With the findings from the study, public health agencies could suggest better solutions to improve health in poor counties.
However, the study still has a couple of limitations. It relied on the data coming from death certificates, which might not be exact in all cases.
In addition, this research was not conducted to deny the effects of many other risk factors. Some of them include high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, as well as a lack of physical activity. Nevertheless, a recent study found out that those factors did not account for the variation in death rates from heart failure in different regions in the country.
This new study indicates that socioeconomic deprivation might be helpful in explaining part of that disparity.