Association between stroke risk factors and access to care
A number of medically diagnosed risk factors are associated with an increased risk of having a stroke. Individuals recognized with hypertension, diabetes, and dyslipidemia all show greater probability of experiencing a stroke. Rural inhabitants are often considered to have limited access to health care, thus frequently decreasing the likelihood of their being aware of, treated, or controlled for these and other stroke-risk factors. This investigation provides an avenue for exploration into the association nontraditional risk factors for stroke, rural/urban designation, and travel time to a usual source of health care have on awareness, treatment, and control of hypertension, diabetes, and dyslipidemia. The association between awareness, treatment, and control of stroke-risk factors and an individual's rural/urban status was investigated to identify geographic disparities. Furthermore, travel time to a participant's usual source of medical care was explored for its relationship to these stages of stroke-risk factors and to investigate how travel time might influence the association between these factors and rural/urban status. No associations were identified for the main effects between the likelihood of being aware of, treated, or controlled for stroke-risk factors, and living in rural and urban settings. Drive time showed no relationship with these stages of stroke-risk factors, nor did it modify the effect rural or urban status had on the dependent variables. Disparities were noted for demographic, socioeconomic, and health behavioral traits for all three risk factors. This project made use of REGARDS study data sources to provide an understanding of stroke disparities for a certain geographic dimension. However, these data alone are unable to specifically identify rural and urban differences in stroke-risk factors and assess what effects access to health care has on the management of stroke-risk factors. The results from this investigation specify limited variability for management of these conditions by this study's measures of access to care.