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A National Institutes of Health-supported observational study has established that individuals living in rural USA have a higher risk (19%) of developing heart failure relative to urban dwellers. Surprisingly, Black men in rural areas are particularly at higher risk of developing heart problems (34%).

Black men in rural America are at increased of heart failure

This observational study was among the first to study the link between cases of heart failure and living in rural USA, highlighting the significance of developing tailored interventions for heart failure prevention among rural residents, especially Black men.

The study’s corresponding author Veronique L Roger said they didn’t anticipate many heart failures in rural American communities relative to urban dwellers, particularly among rural blacks. However, she said the study shows a need for approaches or tools to prevent heart failure among rural dwellers, especially Black men in rural America.

Sarah Turecamo, study co-author and medical student at New York University Grossman School of Medicine, said it would be easier to prevent heart failure than to reduce its mortality once someone has it.

Vanderbilt University Medical Center and NHLBI researchers analyzed The Southern Community Cohort Study data and compared new-onset heart failure rates between urban and rural dwellers in 12 states. The study was long-term research of adults in Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Florida, Louisiana, Kentucky, Mississippi, South Carolina, North Carolina, Tennessee, West Virginia, and Virginia.

Rural dwellers have a 19% increased risk of heart failure

The study followed 27,115 adults without failure at the start for around 13 years. Almost 20% of the subjects lived in rural areas, while the rest dwelled in urban areas. About 69% of the participants were Black adults.

The researchers established at the end of the study that people living in rural America were at increased risk of heart failure after adjusting for socioeconomic status and cardiovascular risk factors. The heart failure risk was 19% more among rural dwellers than those in urban areas. Interestingly the risk was higher (34%) in Black men residing in rural areas.