Multiple social vulnerabilities to health disparities and hypertension and death in the regards study

Academic Article


  • Social vulnerabilities increase the risk of developing hypertension and lower life expectancy, but the effect of an individual's overall vulnerability burden is unknown. Our objective was to determine the association of social vulnerability count and the risk of developing hypertension or dying over 10 years and whether these associations vary by race. We used the REGARDS study (Reasons for Geographic and Racial Differences in Stroke) and included participants without baseline hypertension. The primary exposure was the count of social vulnerabilities defined across economic, education, health and health care, neighborhood and built environment, and social and community context domains. Among 5425 participants of mean age 64±10 SD years of which 24% were Black participants, 1468 (31%) had 1 vulnerability and 717 (15%) had ≥2 vulnerabilities. Compared with participants without vulnerabilities, the adjusted relative risk ratio for developing hypertension was 1.16 (95% CI, 0.99-1.36) and 1.49 (95% CI, 1.20-1.85) for individuals with 1 and ≥2 vulnerabilities, respectively. The adjusted relative risk ratio for death was 1.55 (95% CI, 1.24-1.93) and 2.30 (95% CI, 1.75-3.04) for individuals with 1 and ≥2 vulnerabilities, respectively. A greater proportion of Black participants developed hypertension and died than did White participants (hypertension, 38% versus 31%; death, 25% versus 20%). The vulnerability count association was strongest in White participants (P value for vulnerability count×race interaction: Hypertension=0.046, death=0.015). Overall, a greater number of socially determined vulnerabilities was associated with progressively higher risk of developing hypertension, and an even higher risk of dying over 10 years.
  • Authors

    Published In

  • Hypertension  Journal
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • King JB; Pinheiro LC; Ringel JB; Bress AP; Shimbo D; Muntner P; Reynolds K; Cushman M; Howard G; Manly JJ
  • Start Page

  • 196
  • End Page

  • 206
  • Volume

  • 79
  • Issue

  • 1