Medicine and the approaches used in healthcare that focus on health promotion have imperceptibly increased people’s awareness about their health and improved methods used in managing common medical conditions. Cardiovascular diseases have been a public health concern for the past few decades and have been associated with high rates of morbidity and mortality globally. Factors like sedentary lifestyles and poor dietary patterns have contributed to increased numbers of people diagnosed with cardiovascular diseases. This paper purposes to address the problem of cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) as a health disparity affecting the society, social determinants related to it, epidemiological data associated with CVDs, address cultural considerations,s and people’s understanding of the impact of CVDs. Understanding the social determinants related to CVDs, their epidemiological data, cultural considerations, and people’s health literacy can promote healthcare practitioners’ ability to develop effective health promotion strategies for managing CVDs.
Health Disparity: Cardiovascular Diseases
Cardiovascular diseases entail conditions affecting the cardiovascular system such as strokes, coronary heart disease, heart failure, heart attacks, and arterial diseases. Cardiovascular diseases are usually associated with excessive build-up of fat deposits in arteries, increased risks of clots, and cardiac reserve-related problems. Damage to other organs such as the kidneys and brain can also contribute to the development of cardiovascular diseases (Leening & Ikram, 2018). Most cardiovascular diseases develop over a long period and early diagnosis coupled with the treatment of both the condition and the factors contributing to it could promote effective treatment.
Social Determinants of Health
Social determinants of health relate to the social conditions where people live or work that influence their health and increase their risks of conditions such as CVDs. Some of the social determinants of health associated with cardiovascular diseases include geographical location, which could lead to limited access to healthcare services especially among individuals living in marginalized communities, stress, and employment and working conditions. Stress can affect both the physical and psychological health of an individual leading to health complications. Employment and working conditions determine people’s access to adequate finances to support their lives or the effects of the working environment on their overall health. Working in a polluted environment could lead to numerous health issues that might affect an individual’s quality of life (Islam, 2019). These social determinants directly or indirectly affect people’s health.
Social Determinants of Health Influence on CVDs
Social determinants of health are linked to CVDs as they could either lead to different CVDs or contribute to other health conditions that would place an individual at an increased risk of developing CVDs. In terms of the geographic location of a person, living in large cities that have numerous healthcare facilities improves access to healthcare services, which could promote an individual’s likelihood for seeking essential preventive and promotive healthcare services like disease screening and treatment of comorbid conditions. Individuals who live in marginalized communities have a lower likelihood of seeking healthcare services such as screening. Screening services could promote early diagnosis of diseases and reduce the risks of complications.
Stress and people’s employment and working conditions could also increase their likelihood of developing CVDs. Stress can be caused by daily life challenges like work-related burnouts, posttraumatic stress disorders, living in an unsafe neighborhood, domestic violence, and lack of social support from family members and friends. Exposure to these social stressors can contribute to accrual stress, mental health problems, increased risks of other diseases, which can, in turn, lead to CVDs. Social stress can also lead to CVD directly (Senanayake, Wickramasinghe, Edirippulige, & Arambepola, 2020). Some of the employment and working conditions factors that could increase the risk of CVDs include working in an office, where the individual spends most of the time sitting in the office without getting involved in any physical exercise and poor dietary patterns due to the unavailability of healthy foods within the workplace. Individuals who have a secure job and work in a comfortable environment have a lower likelihood of being stressed or being diagnosed with other health problems that could lead to CVDs while those working under stressful conditions have a higher likelihood of developing CVDs (Brydsten, Hammarstrom, & Sebastian, 2018). Stress and employment-related problems can promote the development of CVDs.
The rates of individuals with CVDs in Texas differ from other states based on a wide range of factors. Heart diseases account for about 2 out of 10 deaths in the state. In 2018, an average of 220 individuals was hospitalized per day due to coronary heart disease, this accounted for 80,402 hospitalization cases during that year. The rate of CVDs in Florida is higher among individuals with disabilities when compared to those who do not have any disability (Floridahealth.gov, 2020). This data suggests that there is a high rate of CVD-related morbidity and mortality in Florida.
Cardiovascular diseases are among the leading causes of non-communicable-related morbidity and mortality globally. According to the CDC, approximately one person dies every 36 seconds due to CVDs and about 655,000 people in the country die from heart diseases annually. This suggests that 1 out of 4 persons die due to CVDs in the country (CDC, 2020). The annual total cost of medical expenses associated with CVDs in 2014 and 2015 in the US was estimated to be $351.2 billion and 213.8 billion respectively. In 2017, an assessment conducted by emergency medical service providers showed that they catered to 356,461 Americans who had a cardiac arrest outside hospitals and approximately 6.2 million American adults died from heart failure between 2013 and 2016 (Benjamin, Muntner, & Alonso, 2019). These statistics indicate the high rates of CVDs within the country and the need to implement effective solutions.
Cultural factors influence the risk of diseases in populations. When considering CVDs, the main cultural consideration associated with CVDs is ethnicity or race. Chinese people have been considered the least likely to develop CVDs because their diet and lifestyle is founded on the consumption of healthy meals, natural supplements, living according to the principles of Zen that uphold internal peace, and use of naturopathic medicine to prevent diseases (King-Shier, et al., 2018). Non-Hispanic Blacks and Whites have a CVD mortality rate than other races, a problem that could be caused by numerous individual, environmental, and cultural factors (CDC, 2020). Dietary practices and lifestyle factors in different cultures influence the diagnosis of CVDs.
Healthcare Literacy Challenges
Individuals diagnosed with CVDs are required to have adequate knowledge of their medical condition, aggravating factors, understanding of their medication, among other health-related knowledge. Healthcare literacy challenges are common among elderly individuals diagnosed with CVDs, who often experience short-term memory loss. Older individuals are also like to have limited literacy levels, which often affects their ability to understand the information communicated to them. Other health literacy challenges that might be experienced include unfamiliarity with CVD-related healthcare services and confusion regarding their health (Alkorashy & Villagracia, 2015). These factors should be considered in care provision.
Many adults within the country have been diagnosed with different CVDs. Social determinants associated with these diagnoses include stress, employment and working conditions, and the geographical location of the person. Social determinants of health are useful in helping people understand the factors influencing different health problems. The social determinants of health that are related to CVDs point out populations that have a higher likelihood of developing CVDs. Social determinants of health and cultural factors should be considered when assessing and managing individuals diagnosed with CVDs.
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