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Deprivation may cause heart disease risk

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DUNDEE, England, Sep 21, 2005 (United Press International via COMTEX) -- Dundee, England, scientists say omitting deprivation from risk assessments for heart disease may deny preventive treatment to those who need it most.

The University of Dundee researchers say current assessments for developing heart disease and being allocated "primary preventive" treatment are calculated using standard risk factors of smoking, blood pressure, cholesterol, age, sex, and diabetes. Those are typically pulled together in the internationally used Framingham Risk Score.

Deprivation, however, is excluded despite known links between poverty and poor health.

The researchers tracked the progress of 13,000 healthy Scottish men and women over a period of 10 years, recording deaths and episodes of hospital treatment.

Then a new deprivation score -- the Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation -- covering 31 indicators from income to access to services was applied retrospectively to the data.

Using the SIMD, the authors compared "observed risk" of death/illness from heart disease with the "expected risk," estimate from the Framingham score.

Expected risk showed a modest difference between the most and least deprived sectors of the study population, while observed risk revealed a very steep difference, which was fivefold in women.

The research appears on line, ahead of print in the journal Heart.

Copyright 2005 by United Press International.

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