According to primary observational research funded by the National Institutes of Health and published by Science Daily, it is discovered that people living in rural areas of the United States had a 19% higher risk of getting heart failure than people living in urban areas, with Black men in rural areas having an exceptionally high risk (34%).
This study, one of the first to analyze the relationship between rural America and first-time heart failure occurrences, underlines the need for more customized preventative approaches among rural communities, particularly Black men.
Heart failure is a progressive and chronic illness in which the heart cannot pump enough blood to meet the body’s demands. A common symptom is difficulty catching one’s breath, whether at rest or during ordinary tasks. There are few effective therapies for the condition, which affects more than 6.2 million individuals in the United States.
Living a heart-healthy lifestyle is one of the most effective ways to prevent heart failure. Doctor Roger, a cardiologist at the NHLBI and in private practice, observes that high blood pressure is a significant cause of heart failure, with Black males disproportionately afflicted. One of the most crucial aspects of therapy is monitoring one’s blood pressure and taking medication as advised. Smoking cessation, a healthy diet, and regular exercise can lower the risk of heart failure even more.
“We did not expect to find a difference of this magnitude in heart failure among rural communities compared to urban communities, especially among rural-dwelling Black men,” said Véronique L. Roger, M.D., M.P.H., the study’s corresponding author and senior investigator with the NHLBI’s Division of Intramural Research. The findings of this study emphasize the need to undertake programs to reduce the incidence of heart failure in rural regions, particularly among Black males.
Sarah Turecamo, a fourth-year medical student at New York University Grossman School of Medicine and co-author, agrees with this view. Turecamo believes that avoiding heart failure is preferable to treating it. The Southern Community Cohort Study, a longitudinal assessment of the health of people residing in the southeastern United States, was conducted by researchers from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute and Vanderbilt University Medical Center.
Researchers in 12 states evaluated the incidence of new-onset heart failure in rural and urban settings (Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia). For 13 years, 27,115 people who did not have heart failure at the time of registration were followed. Approximately 80% of the participants came from cities, and the other 20% came from more rural locations. Two-thirds of the participants were African Americans recruited from uninsured community health facilities.
Living in rural America was shown to raise the risk of heart failure for both women and Black males at the end of the study after correcting for other cardiovascular risk variables and socioeconomic status. Rural residents were approximately 19% more likely than urban residents to suffer from heart failure. Compared to Black males in urban regions, Black men in rural areas had a 34% greater risk of heart failure.
The study discovered that white women living in rural regions had a 22% greater risk of heart failure than white women living in cities. In comparison, black women living in rural areas had an 18% higher risk than black women living in cities. According to the study’s authors, there is no evidence associating rural life with an increased risk of heart failure in white males.
These differences in rural-urban health have convoluted roots that experts are only beginning to investigate. Researchers have proposed a variety of probable factors, including institutional racism, disparities in healthcare access, and a scarcity of low-cost, healthful food alternatives at the local grocery store.
“Finding a relationship between living in rural regions and an increased incidence of heart failure is a significant breakthrough,” said David Goff, M.D., Ph.D., head of the NHLBI’s Division of Cardiovascular Sciences. As we continue to combat heart disease, the top cause of mortality in the United States, we anticipate further research into drugs to prevent heart failure in rural areas.
Heart failure is a progressive and chronic illness in which the heart cannot pump enough blood to meet the body’s demands. A common symptom is a difficulty catching one’s breath, whether at rest or during ordinary tasks. There are few therapeutic options for the approximately 6.2 million Americans with the condition.
Living a heart-healthy lifestyle is one of the most effective ways to prevent heart failure. According to Roger, a cardiologist and NHLBI researcher, Black guys have a disproportionately high risk of hypertension or high blood pressure. One of the most crucial aspects of therapy is monitoring one’s blood pressure and taking medication as advised. Smoking cessation, a healthy diet, and regular exercise can lower the risk of heart failure even more.