Socioeconomic status (SES) is defined as an individual’s social or economic standing, and is a measure of an individual’s or family’s social or economic position or rank in a social group. It is a composite of several measures including income, education, occupation, location of residence or housing. Studies have found a lower SES has been linked to disproportionate access to health care in many diseases. There is emerging data in pulmonary diseases such as COPD, asthma, cystic fibrosis, pulmonary hypertension and other chronic respiratory conditions that allude to a similar observation noted in other chronic diseases. In the setting of COPD, SES has an inverse relationship with COPD prevalence, mortality, health utilization costs and HRQoL. Asthma and cystic fibrosis show an increased severity and hospitalizations in relationship to a lower SES. Similar observations were seen in sarcoidosis, PHTN and obstructive sleep apnea. There remains a limited data on non-CF bronchiectasis and interstitial lung diseases. Population SES may be gauged by various measures such as education, occupation, marital status but no value is more indicative than income. Currently guidelines and management algorithms do not factor the effect of SES in the disease process. Despite the great amount of data available, a standardized method must be created to include SES in the prognostic calculations and management of chronic pulmonary diseases.
Sahni, S., Talwar, A., Khanijo, S., & Talwar, A. (2017). Socioeconomic status and its relationship to chronic respiratory disease. Advances in Respiratory Medicine, 85(2). 97-108.