Poor people are more likely to suffer health concerns and loss of a quality of life after a heart attack than their wealthier counterparts according to a new Israeli study.
The research, conducted by Vicki Myers and Prof. Yariv Gerber of the School of Public Health at Tel Aviv University’s Sackler Faculty of Medicine shows a strong correlation between frailty among post-heart attack patients and socioeconomic status.
Examining the medical records and interviewing over 1,000 patients for the study, the researchers found that 35 percent of patients in the study group had health indicators pointing to clinical frailty including Type 2 Diabetes, inactivity, work limitations and self-reports of worsened health.
Among those identified as frail, patients who were unemployed, lived in poorer communities, had less education or lower income were more likely than those with higher socioeconomic status to be identified as frail.
“We found a strong connection between frailty and socioeconomic status,” Myers said of the research, which was recently published in the International Journal of Cardiology.
Identifying factors that contribute to clinical frailty can help predict those more likely to suffer from health problems and earlier death and inform physician’s decisions regarding aftercare for patients suffering from a heart attack.
“By defining frailty, which combines many areas of medicine, we can predict which people are at the highest risk after a heart attack,” Myers explained, adding that studies like the one conducted at Tel Aviv University are part of a growing trend in medicine helping to identify clinical frailty and its risk factors.
Based on the results of the Israeli study, Myers, Gerber and their colleagues recommend better support services for patients in lower economic areas to help them get their lives back on track post-heart attack as further efforts to prevent the conditions that cause frailty, such as Diabetes and loss of mobility, among the poor.