(HealthDay News) — The prevalence of peripheral artery disease (PAD) is higher in individuals with lower socioeconomic status, according to a study published online July 1 in Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes.

Reena L. Pande, MD, and Mark A. Creager, MD, from Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, examined data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 1999–2004 to identify the correlation between socioeconomic inequality and the prevalence of PAD. Data were obtained for 6,791 eligible participants. Poverty-income ratio, a ratio of self-reported income relative to the poverty line, and attained education level were included as measures of socioeconomic status.

The researchers found that the overall weighted prevalence of PAD was 5.8%. Individuals with low income and lower education had significantly higher PAD prevalence. The odds of PAD were more than two-fold higher for individuals in the lowest of six poverty-income ratio categories compared with those in the highest poverty-income ratio category (odds ratio, 2.69; P<0.0001). Even after multivariable adjustment, the association remained significant (odds ratio, 1.64; P=0.034). The prevalence of PAD also correlated with lower attained education level (odds ratio, 2.8; P<0.0001), but the correlation did not persist after multivariable adjustment.

“These data suggest that individuals of lower socioeconomic status remain at high risk and highlight the need for education and advocacy efforts focused on these at-risk populations,” the authors write.

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peripheral artery disease