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Heart Watch Blog: Where You Live May Affect Heart Attack Risk

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Jan 6, 2006

Where You Live May Affect Heart Attack Risk

Where You Live May Affect Heart Attack Risk

Where you live and the economic situation of people in your neighborhood may affect your risk of developing a heart attack as per new research findings from Sweden.

Researchers Dr. Maria K. Stjarne and colleagues from Stockholm University analyzed data found that from 3,610 adults living near the urban area of Stockholm. They found that, those living in lower-income neighborhoods had a higher rate of heart attack than those in more affluent areas. And the risk was not fully explained by a person's own income, education and occupation - factors that many studies have linked to disease and death risk.

The implication, the researchers report in the journal Epidemiology, is that neighborhood characteristics can add to the health effects of an individual's economic situation.

People with lower incomes and education levels generally have higher rates of heart disease risk factors, like smoking, inactivity and obesity, and so these problems are more prevalent in low-income neighborhoods.

But, the study authors write, people's living environments also shape their attitudes and behavior, meaning that even if their personal income goes up, the neighborhood "context" could still have health effects.

In addition, the infrastructure and resources in a neighborhood could be important factors in heart attack risk. Neighborhood status was defined by the typical household income in a residential area, as well as the neighborhood diversity - whether people with similar incomes were clustered together or whether there was a greater mix of incomes.

Overall, women in low-income neighborhoods were 88 percent more likely to have had a heart attack than those in high-income areas. Men in low-income areas had a 52 percent greater risk of heart attack.


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Heart disease
About 13 million Americans (about 7 percent of the total population) suffer from coronary artery disease. Coronary artery disease is the leading cause of death in American men and women amounting a staggering 20 percent of all causes of death. About half of all deaths related to cardiovascular diseases occur from coronary artery disease. Through this heart watch blog we will have our humble contribution towards making men and women aware of the risks of heart diseases.

Heart Watch Blog: Where You Live May Affect Heart Attack Risk

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