Among my circle of family and friends, adequate health care seems tied to financial ability – those with insurance (or very excellent well-paying jobs) tend to be much more diligent in getting checkups, preventative care and testing, see the doctor earlier in the illness, and get routine dental visits. They even take all of their medicine (no cutting pills in half or hording the last day or two of a medication just in case they might need it in the future). On the other hand, those that I know without jobs (and there are many in this current economic climate) or the uninsured tend to do just the opposite – checkups are skipped, medicines “stretched” and a visit to the doctor always occurs only after they are one step from a trip to the hospital instead of the doctor and pharmacy.
You don’t have to be a rocket scientist or government researcher to see that money (or the lack thereof) plays a role in healthcare. But, what is the long-term impact on your health? If your home and lifestyle aren’t being featured on the cover of Lifestyles of the Rick and Famous, are you at a greater risk for heart related (or other illnesses) disease?
Do people from lower-income neighborhoods have a higher risk of heart disease than those who live in more financially affluent neighborhoods?
The question of socioeconomic status and its impact on the risk of developing coronary heart disease (CHD) was explored by a group of French researchers. In a four year study (2000 – 2003), researchers followed the myocardial infarction events (heart attacks) in Strasbourg for persons between the ages of 34 and 74. As a part of the study, researchers examined the role of socioeconomic status (i.e. income, education, occupation) and neighborhood “deprivation” (good, safe, clean, up-scale neighborhoods versus those from the “wrong” side of the tracks), and its relationship to the risk of heart disease in men and women.
Researchers found that a low socioeconomic state and neighborhood deprivation scores increased the risk of a heart attack for both men and women. True to form, men and women responded somewhat differently to the influences of economic status and deprivation.