Social determinants of health are regularly explored as a means for elucidating the complex contributions to disease and mortality. New research aimed at understanding how social determinants of health may help to predict stroke risk has revealed that social determinants of health may be particularly important in adults under the age of 75.
The study, published in Stroke, evaluated nearly 28,000 participants, aged 45 and up. Just over half the participants in this Reasons for Geographic and Racial Differences in Stroke (REGARDS) study were women, and 40% were African American. The average age of study participants was 64.7 years.
The researchers evaluated several potential social determinants of health and their relationship with stroke risk. These determinants included: black race, low education, social isolation, low household income, lack of health insurance, high poverty zip code, and residence in a state with low ranked public health infrastructure.
Results showed that for those below the age of 75, the more of these social determinants of health a participant had, the more likely they were to suffer a stroke. This trend was not observed for those over the age of 75. According to the authors, these data point to the need to target people with multiple social determinants of health as a way to reduce stroke risk in vulnerable populations. Future research will help to clarify exactly how these social determinants of health affect specific aspects of health and what physician interventions can mitigate any health risks posed by social circumstances.
Reshetnyak, E. et al. (2020). Impact of multiple social determinants of health on incident stroke. Stroke, 51, 2445-2453.