Low income, high risk

Socioeconomic status tied to risk of heart disease

A recent UC Davis study has concluded that people with a low socioeconomic status are far more likely to develop heart disease compared to those who are wealthier and better educated.

According to the long-term study, the trend continues despite improvements in combating risk factors such as smoking, high blood pressure and high cholesterol. People with a low socioeconomic status were 50 percent more likely to develop heart disease than other study participants.

The study involved 12,000 residents of North Carolina, Mississippi, Minnesota and Maryland between the ages of 45 and 64. Participants reported their income and education levels in 1987 and were periodically evaluated for the disease as well as risk factors over the next 10 years.

The link between poverty and heart disease has long been apparent, but the study indicates for the first time that low socioeconomic status remains an issue independent of health-care access and adherence to medications or smoking cessation.