Increase In Risk Factors Contribute To More Strokes in Rural Areas

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

George Howard, Dr.PH PI of the REasons for Geographic And Racial Differences in Stroke (REGARDS) Study Department of Biostatistics University of Alabama at Birmingham Birmingham, AL

Dr. Howard

George Howard, Dr.PH
PI of the REasons for Geographic And Racial Differences in Stroke (REGARDS) Study
Department of Biostatistics
University of Alabama at Birmingham
Birmingham, AL

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Rural areas have been known to have a higher death rate than urban, and higher death from stroke in rural areas is a major contributor to this disparity.

The goal of the research was to assess if the higher deaths from stroke was because rural people are more likely to have a stroke, or more likely to die from a stroke once it occurs.   This distinction is critically important, since intervention to reduce stroke deaths in rural area would focus on stroke prevention if the former, but would focus on improving stroke care (after the stroke) if the latter.

We found that the higher mortality from stroke appears to be almost completely due to more people having stroke.   As such, we need to focus on efforts to reduce the risk of rural areas.   While there are well-documented differences in stroke care between urban and rural areas, resolving these differences will not be likely reduce the rural excess death from stroke.

It would seem that the higher risk of having a stroke could be due to the observation that those in rural areas are more likely to have major stroke risk factors, including hypertension, diabetes and cigarette smoking; however, the higher prevalence of these risk factors don’t seem to explain the higher risk.   So what causes the higher risk remains a mystery.

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Income Disparities Persist In Cardiovascular Risk Factors in the US

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr. Ayodele Odutayo MD MSc DPhil(pending) Centre For Statistics in Medicine, University of Oxford Resident Physician (PGY1), Post-Doctoral Fellow, Applied Health Research Centre St. Michael’s Hospital, University of Toronto

Dr. Odutayo

Dr. Ayodele Odutayo
MD MSc DPhil(pending)
Centre For Statistics in Medicine,
University of Oxford
Resident Physician (PGY1), Post-Doctoral Fellow,
Applied Health Research Centre
St. Michael’s Hospital,
University of Toronto

 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Previously published studies have reported increasing gaps in life expectancy among adults belonging to different socioeconomic strata and suggested that much of this gap was mediated through behavioural and metabolic risk factors.

In this study, we found that from 1999-2014, there was an increasing gap in the control of cardiovascular risk factors between high income adults compared to adults with incomes at or below the poverty line. The proportion of adults at high cardiovascular risk (predicted risk of a cardiovascular event ≥20%), the mean systolic blood pressure and the percentage of current smokers decreased for high income adults but did not change for adults with incomes at or below the poverty line. Notably, the income disparity in these cardiovascular risk factors was not wholly explained by access to health insurance or educational attainment. Trends in the percentage of adults with diabetes and the average total cholesterol level did not vary by income.

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Heart Attack Gap Between Low and High Income Communities Narrows

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Erica Spatz, MD, MHS Assistant Professor, Section of Cardiovascular Medicine Center for Outcomes Research and Evaluation Yale University School of Medicine/Yale-New Haven Hospital New Haven, CT 06520

Dr. Erica Spatz

Erica Spatz, MD, MHS
Assistant Professor, Section of Cardiovascular Medicine
Center for Outcomes Research and Evaluation
Yale University School of Medicine/Yale-New Haven Hospital
New Haven, CT 06520

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? 

Dr. Spatz: Rates of heart attack have declined during the last 15 years. But whether communities of different economic status or in different geographic regions experienced similar declines is unknown, especially as efforts to prevent cardiovascular disease and manage heart attacks may not have been equally successful in communities with different resource capacity.

Our study shows that trends in the incidence of and mortality from heart attack were similar in low, average and high income communities. However, low-income communities had higher hospitalization rates than average and high income communities throughout the 15 year study period. Interestingly mortality rates were similar.

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Childhood Vaccination Coverage Varies By State and Poverty Status

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Holly A. Hill, MD, PhD
Immunization Services Division
National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases
CDC

Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: The National Immunization Survey involves random digit-dialing – both landlines and cell phones – to generate a large national sample we use to assess vaccination coverage.  The phone survey is followed by a mail survey sent to the children’s vaccination providers to obtain vaccination histories. This 2014 NIS report is based on 14,893 children 19-35 months of age with provider- reported vaccination records.

According to the 2014 NIS, the majority of parents are vaccinating their children against potentially serious diseases. Nationally, there were no significant decreases in vaccination coverage among children 19-35 months for routinely recommended childhood vaccines in 2014. As in past years, lower coverage for vaccines recommended during the second year of life were observed.  We still have opportunities for improvement.

While national coverage was high for most vaccines routinely recommended for young children, vaccination coverage does vary by state and poverty status.

High coverage rates for childhood vaccines explain why most vaccine-preventable diseases are at record low levels. However, it is crucial to maintain these rates in order to keep outbreaks from happening.

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