Heart disease patients living in poorer areas of British Columbia are twice as likely to die from chronic diseases, particularly cancer, than those living in more affluent areas, according to a new UBC study.

"Even in a country with universal healthcare services, a neighbourhood's socioeconomic status can have a dramatic impact on life expectancy for patients with heart disease," said study co-author Claire Heslop, an MD/PhD student in the University of British Columbia’s Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine.

This trend may reflect the higher overall stress experienced by patients in low socioeconomic areas.


"These findings should prompt a new examination of neighbourhood effects on health, and how they could be improved to better the lives of residents," Heslop said.

The study looked at 485 heart disease patients over a 13-year period.

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