Cardiovascular Risk in Middle-Aged and Older Immigrants: Exploring Residency Period and Health Insurance Coverage

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Purpose: It is reported that while immigrants are, initially, healthier than the native-born upon resettlement, this advantage erodes over time. In the United States, uninsured aging immigrants are increasingly experiencing severe complications of cardiovascular disease (CVD). The purpose of this study was to compare overall CVD risk and explore the importance of health insurance coverage on CVD risk relative to other health access barriers, from 2007 to 2012, in recent and long-term immigrants >50 years of age. Methods: This study was based on secondary cross-sectional analysis of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (N = 1,920). The primary outcome, CVD risk category (high or low), was determined using the American College of Cardiology and American Heart Association Pooled Cohort equation. Differences between immigrant groups were examined using independent-samples t tests and chi-square analysis. The association between insurance and CVD risk was explored using a hierarchical block logistic regression model, in which variables were entered in a predetermined order. Changes in pseudo R 2 measured whether health insurance explained variance in cardiac risk beyond other variables. Results: Recent immigrants had lower overall CVD risk than long-term immigrants but were twice as likely to be uninsured and had higher serum glucose and lipid levels. Based on regression models, being uninsured contributed to CVD risk beyond other health access determinants, and CVD risk was pronounced among recent immigrants who were uninsured. Conclusions: Health insurance coverage plays an essential part in a comprehensive approach to mitigating CVD risk for aging immigrants, particularly recent immigrants whose cardiovascular health is susceptible to deterioration. Clinical Relevance: Nurses are tasked with recognizing the unique social and physical vulnerabilities of aging immigrants and accounting for these in care plans. In addition to helping them access healthcare coverage and affordable medication, nurses and clinicians should prioritize low-cost lifestyle interventions that reduce CVD risk, especially diet and exercise programs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)326-336
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Nursing Scholarship
Volume51
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - May 2019

Keywords

  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Immigrants
  • geriatrics
  • health access

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nursing(all)

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