Low educational levels predict an increased risk of developing or dying from heart disease and stroke according to a research published this week in the European Heart Journal, with the researchers further showing low income and work stress contribute to the link.
For the study, researchers analysed data from 1,638,270 Danish residents aged 30 to 59 years in 2000, without cardiovascular disease (CVD) or diabetes at baseline, as well as 41,944 people who had been diagnosed already with cardiometabolic disease. Participants were followed-up until the end of 2014.
The authors reported that among men with low education, the hazard ratio (HR) for CVD was 1.62 (95% CI 1.58-1.66) before and 1.46 (95% CI 1.42-1.50) after adjustment for income and job strain (25% reduction). For women, estimated HRs were 1.66 (95% CI 1.61-1.72) and 1.53 (95% CI 1.47-1.58) (21% reduction). Among those with diagnosed cardiometabolic disease, low education was linked with a higher CVD mortality risk.
“Our interpretation of these findings is that low income and high job strain may play a role in how low educational level affects the risk of developing or dying from cardiovascular disease, but that also a considerable part of this association is independent of income and job strain,” said author Dr Elisabeth Framke.