Study Shows Higher Risk of Heart Failure in Rural Adults

A recent study implemented by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute suggests that adults in US rural areas are at a higher risk of heart failure than those in urban neighborhoods.

The results of this observational project were published in the JAMA Cardiology journal.

In this project, there were more than 27,000 participants from different southern states in the US. Around 20 percent of those came from rural areas.

Concerning the ethnicities, nearly 70 percent of those adults were Black with a median age of 54 years old.

All participants did not have a history or current heart failure when the research started.

The authors noticed that participants from rural areas had relatively higher BMIs and rates of medical conditions, such as coronary disease, diabetes, hyperlipidemia, and hypertension.

During a period of 13 years, more than 7,500 cases of heart failure were reported. This condition happens when the heart does not pump blood properly through the body. Typical signs include breathing issues while lying down or shortness of breath during trivial tasks.

Among these reported cases, around 1860 happened to rural adults and 5,600 happened to urban people.

After the analysis, the authors found out that rural adults have an approximately 19 percent higher risk of heart failure than those living in urban areas. For rural Black males, this number was up to almost 35 percent. In women, the risks were 22 percent and 18 percent higher in white and Black women, respectively.

The results were not surprising. Instead, they were in consistency with previous studies that showed the effects of sexism and racism on almost every aspect of women and Black individuals’ lives.

Another explanation for the higher risk of heart failure in rural adults is the less access to general health services. Therefore, it can be challenging for them to seek help or a proper diagnosis.

Some health experts believe that the differences in healthcare services in the rural US are increasing and becoming more serious. In many regions, people have to wait longer to see doctors and get emergency services as well as have fewer care options.

Many hospitals and medical centers are increasingly shut down in rural regions due to financial difficulties.

However, the researchers point out that it is still not clear whether these differences a higher risk of heart failure in adults in rural regions. More research should be carried out in the future to answer these questions.


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