According to a new study, the rate of diabetes-related deaths and high blood pressure among blacks over the past two decades has improved in urban areas, but rural communities are lagging behind.
Scientists have known for years that there are people rural areas of the US were more likely to die cardiovascular disease than their city counterparts. But the researchers wanted to see if the latest efforts to reduce the racial health gap were working equally in both areas of the country.
First, they examined U.S. deaths for black and white adults 25 years of age or older from 1999 to 2018. They then focused on where people lived and what cardiovascular conditions were added as cause of death.
Although the study found that mortality rates in rural areas were higher in black adults compared to white adults color disease and stroke, yes he showed the racial gap inside heart disease deaths declined at a similar rate in both rural and rural areas urban areas—And he fell faster from stroke in rural areas than in urban areas.
But the gap was especially wide for deaths related to diabetes and high blood pressure. Black rural residents they were two or three times more likely to die from these conditions than white rural residents.
A slightly different image emerged in urban areas. The gap between the death rate from diabetes and high blood pressure among blacks and whites, nearby cities and suburbs improved three times faster than in rural areas.
“What’s really worrying is that these disparities haven’t improved significantly in the last two decades,” said lead author Dr. Rahul Aggarwal, a resident physician at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Harvard Medical School in Boston.
The findings suggest a great need for welfare improvements in rural areas, he said. “It is important to modify political and public health initiatives so that we can address the root causes of these regional inequalities, including income inequality, structural racism, and access to health care services.”
The study will be presented Friday at the American Heart Association’s virtual conference on Epidemiology, Prevention, Lifestyle, and Cardiometabolic Health. The research was also published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.
About 60 million Americans – 20% of the American population – live in rural areas. Last year, the American Heart Association published rural health advice in the journal Circulation calling for better long-term funding for Medicaid patients and for rural hospitals and care clinics. The advisor also recommended the use of digital and telemedicine tools to improve cardiovascular health in rural areas.
“From a rural perspective, you have to think of new solutions,” said Dr. Keith Churchwell, executive vice president and chief operating officer of Yale New Haven Hospital in Connecticut. “This may be an opportunity to take a deeper dive to see if telehealth can lead to better avenues to improve care.”
Doctors in rural areas face unique challenges, such as isolation and lack of health professionals, said Churchwell, who did not participate in the new study. “You run the risk of having a disconnect in your ability to care for patients.”
He called for more research to explore why racial differences improve in urban areas due to diabetes and hypertension and see how these gains can be doubled in rural settings. “There may be lessons we can learn about improving therapies, outcomes, and general care for populations everywhere.”
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Citation: Blacks in rural areas are more likely than whites to die of diabetes, high blood pressure (2021, May 20), recovered on May 21, 2021 at https://medicalxpress.com/news/2021- 05-black-people-rural- zones-blanc.html
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