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Americans avoid visits to the doctor even after pandemic

Aspirin Heart Disease
Posted at 9:09 AM, May 24, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-24 12:09:40-04

Treatment for common health issues during the pandemic dropped off significantly and hasn't recovered.

New research found treatment for heart attacks dropped about 30% during the pandemic.

Treatment is needed within the first 90 minutes of symptoms of a heart attack, experts say. Additional research found the less money people made, the longer they stayed in the hospital following a heart attack. They also had a higher chance of dying.

Another study out that race and substance use history can lead to further bias and treatment for some heart attacks.

“Black patients with a history of cocaine use who presented with a heart attack were about 25% less likely to receive the capitalization and about 40% less likely to receive revascularization compared to white patients,” said Dr. Michael Dangl, a physician with the University of Miami Jackson Memorial Hospital.

A national sample of black patients with a history of cocaine use found that they were less likely than white patients to get critical treatments. That is despite black patients being more likely to have insurance and being less likely to abuse other stimulants that can cause heart attacks.

How willing someone is to take necessary medications after a heart attack and heart attack treatment is one thing that doctors have to consider before procedures are ordered.

The doctor who initiated this research said there needs to be more objective ways to measure.

“Rather than just looking at someone and saying, oh, they have this history of cocaine use is not likely to be compliant,” Dangl said. “Looking at more objective measures of compliance. See if there's, you know, if they're on any other medications, How regular have they been with those medications that really like refill history?”

He also suggested more diversity in the cardiology field. Racial and implicit bias training could improve health equity and treatment for heart attacks.

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States.