How race and gender can affect life expectancy after a heart attack
Sex and race may play a role in the life expectancy of individuals after a heart attack, according to a new study recently published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.
Women had nearly 11 percent less life expectancy than men, researchers found. Overall, blacks lost 6 percent more of their expected life compared to whites.
“Black patients had more risk factors, were sicker when they first were presented to care, and received less treatment than white patients,” said Dr. Emily Bucholz, a pediatric resident at Boston Children’s Hospital, in a news release. “However, we were not able to explain the sex differences in life years lost that we observed.”
Researchers studied 146,743 Medicaid patients who suffered acute heart attack and were hospitalized between 1994 and 1995. Participant’s average age in the study was 76 years old. Throughout the 17 years of follow-ups, the survival rates were 8.3 percent for white men, 6.4 percent for white women, 5.4 percent for black men, and 5.8 percent for black women.
Physicians say certain health problems can be a direct cause of heart disease.
“What I encounter with my patients are many times they have several health issues that lead to heart issues like weight management and blood pressure issues, especially among African American communities,” says Dr. Amit Vyas, cardiologist at Advocate Trinity Hospital in Chicago. “The issue only gets worse when there are no follow-up or preventative appointments.”
Dr. Vyas says he sees some blacks with serious health issues in their teenage years, as well as hypertension and heart disease as early as 35 years old.
The study is the first of its kind to compare life expectancy with a specific populations after a heart attack.
About 610,000 people die of heart disease in the U.S. every year – or one in every four deaths – according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
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