BACKGROUND: More than 5 million US stroke survivors require comprehensive care for risk factor modification and secondary prevention. Younger stroke survivors may have reduced access to physician care and medications because they are more frequently uninsured.
OBJECTIVE: To assess age-related differences in access to physician care and medications among stroke survivors (aged 45-64 years vs > or = 65 years).
DESIGN: National Health Interview Survey from years 1998 to 2002.
SETTING: A US population-based survey.
PARTICIPANTS: Stroke survivors (n = 3681) aged 45 years and older among 159 985 survey respondents.
MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: General doctor visit, medical specialist visit, and inability to afford medications within the last 12 months.
RESULTS: Compared with older stroke survivors, younger stroke survivors more frequently reported no general doctor visit (10% vs 14%, respectively; P = .002), no general doctor or medical specialist visit (5% vs 8%, respectively; P = .003), and the inability to afford medications (6% vs 15%, respectively; P<.001). Younger age was independently associated with no general doctor visit (odds ratio, 1.40; 95% confidence interval, 1.04-1.88), no general doctor or medical specialist visit (odds ratio, 1.69; 95% confidence interval, 1.14-2.52), and the inability to afford medications (odds ratio, 2.94; 95% confidence interval, 2.19-3.94) after adjusting for sex, race, income, neurological disability, health status, and comorbidity. With further adjustment for health insurance, younger age remained independently associated with the inability to afford medications but not the lack of physician visits.
CONCLUSIONS: Stroke survivors younger than 65 years reported worse access to physician care and medication affordability than older stroke survivors. Inadequate access among younger stroke survivors may lead to inadequate risk factor modification and recurrent cardiovascular events.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/catarina_kiefe/77/