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Does a lack of education heighten stroke risk?

Does a lack of education heighten stroke risk?
19th August 2014

Smokers who have a low level of education could find themselves at higher risk of developing a stroke.

This is according to new research from the Department of Public Health at the University of Copenhagen in Denmark, which confirmed previous findings that the combination of smoking and high blood pressure heightened the risk the most.

Scientists analysed 68,643 adults who were aged between 30 and 70 years old with low, medium and high levels of education. They also looked at whether or not they smoked and how high their blood pressure was.

It transpired 16 per cent of men and 11 per cent of women had a high risk of developing a stroke because of their lack of education, smoker status and hypertension levels.

Researchers also noted that smokers, who had low education were more susceptible to experiencing a stroke than those who had spent more time studying, regardless of blood pressure.

Men were seen to be more prone to the condition than their female counterparts, while the chance of developing a stroke grew with age. 

The study took place over 14 years and ten per cent of the high-risk men and nine per cent of the women had an ischemic stroke in this time frame.

Low levels of schooling were said to be no more than ten years in education, equivalent to lower secondary school status. 

Study lead author and researcher Dr Helene Nordahl said: "We found it is worse being a current smoker with lower education than a current smoker with a higher education. 

"Targeted interventions aimed at reducing smoking and high blood pressure in lower socioeconomic groups would yield a greater reduction in stroke than targeting the same behaviours in higher socioeconomic groups."

The scientists conceded they did not look at a wide range of ethnicities because 98 per cent of the participants were Danish. 

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