A new survey published in the journal Europace by a team at Uppsala University in Sweden showed that patients with no formal education were the least likely to benefit from blood thinning medications. This anticoagulant treatment is the most useful approach for patients who are most at risk of a stroke.
The report surveyed 1,100 people with atrial fibrillation, a common cardiac rhythm condition that increases the danger of stroke significantly, writes India’s The Health Site. When atrial fibrillation patients suffer from a stroke, the repercussions can include longer stays in the hospital, disability, and death.
According to the survey, those who are uneducated missed treatment appointments, did not fully understand bleeding risks, and were unaware that they could phase into ordinary day-to-day activities.
“The survey shows that differences in patient education level may compromise the safety and efficacy of anticoagulants. Patients unaware of the importance of being compliant have a higher risk for both bleeding events and stroke,” said one of the study authors Carina Blomstrom-Lundqvist.
The study’s participants were, on average, 66-years-old, and 46% were women. They were chosen from France, Italy, Denmark, Britain, Sweden, Germany, Spain, and Norway. The researchers discovered that patients with no schooling had the lowest awareness of bleeding risks that are associated with anticoagulant medications when compared to subjects who had a college education.
While one in four patients with no formal education reported bleeding events, only 18.7% of those with a college education had bleeding situations associated with their medicines. There was a higher rate of previous strokes in patients with no schooling than for those who had a college education.
The researchers’ results showed the importance of ensuring that patients receive “user-friendly” education concerning the risk factors connected to strokes, as well as teaching on the use and side-effects of anticoagulants.
The results were produced by a European Heart Rhythm Association (EHRA)/European Society of Cardiology (ESC) survey. Jo Carlowe of OnMedica reports that approximately 80% of college-educated patients knew they were allowed to play sports, drive, and travel by plane while they were taking blood-thinning medications, but just 52% of non-schooled patients understood that they could.
The patients taking the drugs were asked what they knew about anticoagulants and their answers were then analyzed according to their country of residence, gender, education level, and age, said EHRA President Professor Gerhard Hindricks. Their responses were collected over three months.
Higher levels of education are linked to better health outcomes in higher-income countries. A 2010 study published in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association showed a correlation between higher education levels and lower risks for cardiovascular disease including heart attacks and strokes.
But the connection is not universal. The same study also found that lower-income countries showed a link between higher levels of education and an increased risk of cardiovascular problems.