Socioeconomic status associated with peripheral artery disease risk

July 2, 2014, Brigham and Women's Hospital
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

A nanoparticle inhalant for treating heart disease

January 18, 2018
A team of researchers from Italy and Germany has developed a nanoparticle inhalant for treating people suffering from heart disease. In their paper published in the journal Science Translational Medicine, the group describes ...

Starting periods before age of 12 linked to heightened risk of heart disease and stroke

January 15, 2018
Starting periods early—before the age of 12—is linked to a heightened risk of heart disease and stroke in later life, suggests an analysis of data from the UK Biobank study, published online in the journal Heart.

'Decorated' stem cells could offer targeted heart repair

January 10, 2018
Although cardiac stem cell therapy is a promising treatment for heart attack patients, directing the cells to the site of an injury - and getting them to stay there - remains challenging. In a new pilot study using an animal ...

Two simple tests could help to pinpoint cause of stroke

January 10, 2018
Detecting the cause of the deadliest form of stroke could be improved by a simple blood test added alongside a routine brain scan, research suggests.

Exercise is good for the heart, high blood pressure is bad—researchers find out why

January 10, 2018
When the heart is put under stress during exercise, it is considered healthy. Yet stress due to high blood pressure is bad for the heart. Why? And is this always the case? Researchers of the German Centre for Cardiovascular ...

Heart-muscle patches made with human cells improve heart attack recovery

January 10, 2018
Large, human cardiac-muscle patches created in the lab have been tested, for the first time, on large animals in a heart attack model. This clinically relevant approach showed that the patches significantly improved recovery ...

0 comments

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.