Social, environmental factors may raise risk of developing heart disease

March 29, 2024- People who live in areas with social and environmental adversities may have up to twice the increased risk for developing heart disease and stroke, according to new research published in the Journal of the American Heart Association. In this study, environmental adversities included air and water pollution, potentially hazardous or toxic sites, few recreational parks, and high traffic roads, railways or airports.

Social vulnerabilities were defined as racial and ethnic minority status; socioeconomic factors such as income, education and employment levels; housing status; and access to internet and health care.

The analysis found:

  • People living in the most environmentally vulnerable neighborhoods had 1.6 times the rate of blocked arteries.
  • Cardiovascular disease risk factors were higher in the most vulnerable areas with twice the rate of Type 2 diabetes.
  • About 30% of all U.S. residents aged 18-44, 21% of Black adults and most Hispanic adults resided in places with alarmingly high environmental burdens.

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