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Study Reveals Link Between Social and Environmental Adversities and Cardiovascular Risks

A recent study sheds light on the correlation between living in areas with social and environmental challenges and the heightened risk of heart disease and stroke. Published online on March 27 in the Journal of the American Heart Association, the research underscores the combined impact of social and environmental factors on cardiovascular health.

Led by Sumanth Khadke, M.D., from Lahey Hospital & Medical Center in Burlington, Massachusetts, the study delved into how social and environmental exposures influence cardiovascular risks. Utilizing data from the 2022 Environmental Justice Index, socio-environmental justice index, and environmental burden module, the researchers analyzed the ranks of census tracts.

The findings revealed significant disparities. Compared to those in quartile 1, individuals residing in quartile 4 of the Environmental Justice Index exhibited a notably higher rate of coronary artery disease (rate ratio [RR], 1.684) and stroke (RR, 2.112). Moreover, quartile 4 of the environmental burden module showed increased rates of coronary artery disease (RR, 1.143) and stroke (RR, 1.118) compared to quartile 1. Similar trends were observed for chronic kidney disease, hypertension, diabetes, obesity, high cholesterol, lack of health insurance, inadequate sleep (less than seven hours per night), insufficient leisure time physical activity, and prolonged mental and physical health challenges in the past month.

"The prevalence of cardiovascular disease and its risk factors is highly associated with increased social and environmental adversities, and environmental exposure plays an important role independent of social factors," the authors emphasized.

However, it's important to note that one author disclosed ties to the pharmaceutical industry, underscoring the need for transparency in research funding and potential conflicts of interest.

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