Education, finances affect risk of heart disease more for women than men

March 20, 2014 by Diane Swanbrow

(Medical Xpress)—Low levels of education and financial assets have long been linked to increased risks of cardiovascular disease. But a new University of Michigan study shows that the association is much greater for middle-aged and older women than it is for men of similar ages.

"These findings suggest that professionals should consider exploring interventions aimed at reducing the risks of heart disease for this group of women," said Kristi Rahrig Jenkins, a U-M sociologist who co-authored the study published last month in Women & Health.

Jenkins and U-M researcher Mary Beth Ofstedal analyzed data from nearly 6,000 participants in the Health and Retirement Study, a survey of a nationally representative sample of U.S. adults over age 50 conducted by the U-M Institute for Social Research.

The data included physical measurements on a variety of cardiovascular risk factors, including body mass index, systolic and diastolic blood pressure, and cholesterol, collected during face-to-face visits. The researchers correlated these data with demographic and socioeconomic measures, including educational attainment, income and assets.

"We found that the associations between most socioeconomic indicators and cardiovascular risk were stronger for women than for men," Jenkins said. "Given the rapidly growing aging population in the U.S. and the increasing costs of health care, it's essential for us to be more effective in reaching out to groups at higher risk. Providing interventions for women with lower levels of assets and education is an important first step."

Explore further: Which women should be screened for high cholesterol?

Related Stories

Which women should be screened for high cholesterol?

May 20, 2013

National guidelines recommend that at-risk women be screened for elevated cholesterol levels to reduce their chances of developing cardiovascular disease. But who is 'at risk?' The results of a study by investigators at the ...

Metabolic syndrome is similar in different age groups

February 13, 2014

Metabolic risk factors cluster similarly in children and adults, according to a study carried out at the University of Eastern Finland. Furthermore, in adults, the clustering of these risk factors increases the risk of premature ...

Recommended for you

What powers the pumping heart?

September 25, 2015

Researchers at the Ted Rogers Centre for Heart Research have uncovered a treasure trove of proteins, which hold answers about how our heart pumps—a phenomenon known as contractility.

Sticky gel helps stem cells heal rat hearts

September 24, 2015

A sticky, protein-rich gel created by Johns Hopkins researchers appears to help stem cells stay on or in rat hearts and restore their metabolism after transplantation, improving cardiac function after simulated heart attacks, ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.