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ENGLEMED HEALTH NEWS

Education link to stroke risk

Friday August 15th, 2014

Education may be a key factor in determining whether male smokers suffer a stroke, according to Danish researchers.

Smokers with high blood pressure are most at risk - but this varies according to educational levels, the researchers found.

They say it is likely that education indicates a willingness on the part of a smoker to adopt other aspects of a healthy lifestyle to counteract the risks they face.

The findings come from a study of nearly 70,000 adults in Denmark, reported in the journal Stroke.

About 10% of the high risk men and 9% of the high risk women suffered a stroke during the 14 years of the study. These were smokers with high blood pressure and limited education.

Researcher Dr Helene Nordahl, of Copenhagen University, 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.”

She added: "Universal interventions such as legislation or taxation could also have a strong effect on stroke in the most disadvantaged. We need to challenge disparities in unhealthy behaviours, particularly smoking.”

Combined Effects of Socioeconomic Position, Smoking, and Hypertension on Risk of Ischemic and Hemorrhagic Stroke Stroke 14 August 2014; doi: 10.1161/STROKEAHA.114.005252

Tags: Europe | Heart Health

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