Socioeconomic status associated with peripheral artery disease risk

July 2, 2014
Heart diagram. Credit: Wikipedia

Previous research has established a link between lower socioeconomic status and an increased risk of cardiovascular disease. In a new study led by Brigham and Women's Hospital (BWH), researchers have found that there are also higher rates of peripheral artery disease (PAD) in individuals with low income and lower attained education levels in the United States.

These findings are published online ahead of print in Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes.

"Our finding highlights the need to focus on education and advocacy efforts for these at-risk populations," said Reena Pande, MD, MSc, co-author of the publication and an associate physician in the Cardiovascular Division at BWH.

PAD, a circulatory problem in which narrowed arteries reduce to limbs, most commonly to the legs, causes leg pain and is often an indicator of more wide-spread artherosclerosis. Individuals with PAD are also at of having heart disease and blockages in the blood flow the brain. PAD can be treated with lifestyle modifications such as exercising, eating a healthy diet and quitting tobacco, and some individuals may require a procedure to restore blood flow to the limbs.

Researchers analyzed data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey from 1999 to 2004. PAD was defined using a standard of care measurement, an ankle–brachial index of ≤0.90. Measures of included poverty–income ratio, a ratio of self-reported income relative to the poverty line, and attained education level.

Of 6,791 eligible participants, researchers found that PAD prevalence was significantly higher in individuals with low income and lower education. Individuals in the lowest of the 6 poverty– income ratio categories had more than a 2-fold increased odds of PAD compared with those in the highest poverty–income ratio category, an association that was still significant after accounting for other risk factors. Lower attained education level was also associated with higher PAD prevalence, but after adjusting for other factors, this association was no longer significant.

Researchers note that education and income are only two of many potential measures of socioeconomic status and that other measures may also have an effect on overall health, including a network of family and friends and access to resources and opportunities that may impact health outcomes.

"We need dedicated approaches to PAD awareness efforts, research endeavors, and treatment strategies that focus on those individuals of low socioeconomic strata who may be most likely to be affected by PAD," Pande said. Specifically, we need to target awareness efforts to the subpopulations that have the greatest gaps in awareness and at the same time are at higher risk of developing PAD. In the evaluation and implementation of new therapies or treatment strategies, we must consider that not only may differences in outcomes arise from socioeconomic differences, but we must also develop strategies that facilitate access to these beneficial treatments to reach all segments of the population equally."

Explore further: Women and PAD: Excellent treatment outcomes in spite of disease severity

Related Stories

Women and PAD: Excellent treatment outcomes in spite of disease severity

May 5, 2014
Women face greater limits on their lifestyle and have more severe symptoms as a result of peripheral artery disease (PAD), but minimally invasive procedures used to unclog arteries are just as successful as in men.

Millions with peripheral artery disease not getting vital medications

June 20, 2011
Millions of adults with peripheral artery disease are not receiving the medications needed to reduce their risk of heart attack, stroke and death, according to research in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association.

First global analysis reveals alarming rise in peripheral artery disease with over a quarter of a billion cases worldwid

July 31, 2013
The number of people with peripheral artery disease worldwide has risen dramatically (by 23.5 percent) in just 10 years, from about 164 million in 2000 to 202 million in 2010, according to the first robust global estimates, ...

Socioeconomic disparities linked to use of eye care

July 22, 2013
(HealthDay)—People with age-related eye disease such as cataracts or glaucoma are less likely to see an eye care provider if they are in a low socioeconomic position, according to research published online July 18 in JAMA ...

Education, wealth levels impact mortality in diabetes patients

January 16, 2013
(HealthDay)—Socioeconomic status, as measured by education and financial wealth, is a strong independent predictor of mortality risk among adult diabetes patients, according to a study published in the January issue of ...

Men with certain cardiovascular risk factors may be at increased risk of peripheral artery disease

October 23, 2012
Among nearly 45,000 men who were followed up for more than two decades, those with the risk factors of smoking, hypertension, high cholesterol, and type 2 diabetes had an associated greater risk of developing PAD, according ...

Recommended for you

Could aggressive blood pressure treatments lead to kidney damage?

July 18, 2017
Aggressive combination treatments for high blood pressure that are intended to protect the kidneys may actually be damaging the organs, new research from the University of Virginia School of Medicine suggests.

Quantifying effectiveness of treatment for irregular heartbeat

July 17, 2017
In a small proof-of-concept study, researchers at Johns Hopkins report a complex mathematical method to measure electrical communications within the heart can successfully predict the effectiveness of catheter ablation, the ...

Concerns over side effects of statins stopping stroke survivors taking medication

July 17, 2017
Negative media coverage of the side effects associated with taking statins, and patients' own experiences of taking the drugs, are among the reasons cited by stroke survivors and their carers for stopping taking potentially ...

Study discovers anticoagulant drugs are being prescribed against safety advice

July 17, 2017
A study by researchers at the University of Birmingham has shown that GPs are prescribing anticoagulants to patients with an irregular heartbeat against official safety advice.

Protein may protect against heart attack

July 14, 2017
DDK3 could be used as a new therapy to stop the build-up of fatty material inside the arteries

Heart study finds faulty link between biomarkers and clinical outcomes

July 14, 2017
Surrogate endpoints (biomarkers), which are routinely used in clinical research to test new drugs, should not be trusted as the ultimate measure to approve new health interventions in cardiovascular medicine, according to ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.