Social determinants of health and comorbidities among individuals with atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease: The behavioral risk factor surveillance system survey

Document Type



Office of the Provost; Cardiology


Individuals with atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ASCVD) often have a high burden of comorbidities. Social determinants of health (SDOH) may complicate adherence to treatment in these patients. This study assessed the association of comorbidities and SDOH among individuals with ASCVD. Cross-sectional data from the 2016 to 2019 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, a nationally representative US telephone-based survey of adults ages ≥18 years, were used. Cardiovascular comorbidities included hypertension, hyperlipidemia, diabetes mellitus, current cigarette smoking, and chronic kidney disease. Non-cardiovascular comorbidities included chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, asthma, arthritis, cancer, and depression. SDOH associated with being at or above the 75th percentile of comorbidity burden were analyzed using multivariable adjusted logistic regression models. The study population included 387,044 individuals, 9% of whom had ASCVD. The mean (SD) numbers of total, cardiovascular, and non-cardiovascular comorbidities were 1.97 (1.27), 1.28 (0.74), 0.69 (0.91) among those without ASCVD and 3.28 (1.62), 1.73 (0.91), and 1.54 (1.22) among those with ASCVD, respectively (P < 0.001 for all comparisons). Female gender, household income ≤$75,000, being unemployed, and difficulty accessing health care were significantly associated with a higher burden of comorbidities among those with ASCVD. The mean (SD) numbers of comorbidities for those with 0, 1, 2, and ≥3 of the aforementioned SDOH were 2.89 (1.45), 2.86 (1.47), 3.39 (1.58), and 4.01 (1.73), respectively (P < 0.001). Among persons with ASCVD, the burden of cardiovascular and non-cardiovascular comorbidities is directly proportional to SDOH in any given individual. Clinicians should address SDOH when managing high-risk individuals.


This work was published before the author joined Aga Khan University.

Publication (Name of Journal)

Population health management