Race and Income Potentially Increase Risk of Death in Dialysis Patients

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NEW YORK CITY, NY – A recent study released by Dr. Tanya Johns and her colleagues at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City indicates that young black adult dialysis patients who live in poor neighborhoods are much more likely to die than their white counterparts.

In higher income areas racial differences were not such a pronounced factor. This indicates that the correlation is more closely related to economic status than race. “In our study, young black patients’ risk of death was worse when they lived in poor neighborhoods. We need to better understand how the wealth of someone’s neighborhood affects patients’ health while on dialysis,” said Johns. The study that was published in the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology states that among dialysis patients between the age 18 and 30, blacks are nearly twice as likely to die at a young age.

The study analyzed data from more than 11,000 young white and black adults with kidney failure. All patients began dialysis between 2006 and 2009. After a 23-month follow up, the study identified a higher risk of death in young black adults in poor neighborhoods. They found that black dialysis patients were 1.5 times more likely to die than whites.

Dialysis and Poverty in the United States

Poverty in the United StatesIt is well known that minority groups in the United States in general have higher poverty rates. According to the U.S. Census Bureau the highest national poverty rates were for American Indians and Alaska Natives (27.0 percent) and Blacks or African Americans (25.8 percent). The 2007–2011 national poverty rate for Whites was 11.6 percent, and most states (43) as well as the District of Columbia had poverty rates lower than 14.0 percent for this group. Knowing this could explain why young black adult dialysis patients have higher risk of death.

The study did was not explained in terms of medical factors. It also did indicate additional medical conditions such as blood pressure, to generate the results.

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