Higher education, lower blood pressure: study

By Agence France-Presse
Monday, February 28, 2011 16:37 EDT
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WASHINGTON – The more advanced degrees a person has, the lower their blood pressure, a study published online has found.

An analysis of some 4,000 patient records from the 30-year Framingham Offspring Study found that, controlling only for age, women with 17 years or more of education — a master’s degree or doctorate — had systolic blood pressure readings 3.26 millimeters of mercury lower than female high school drop-outs.

Men who went to graduate school had systolic blood pressure readings that were 2.26 millimeters of mercury (mmHg) lower than their counterparts who did not finish high school, the study, published online in the open access journal BMC Public Health, says.

The same inverse relationship between education and blood pressure was also seen, although to a lesser degree, in men and women who got associate’s or bachelor’s degrees at university but did not continue on to graduate school.

They showed greater blood pressure benefits than high school drop-outs but lesser benefits than holders of master’s degrees or doctorates, the study found.

Even after controlling for influences such as smoking, drinking, obesity and blood pressure medication, the benefits persisted, although at a lower level.

The study could help explain the widely documented association in developed countries between education and lower risk of heart disease, said lead author Eric Loucks, an assistant professor of public health at Brown University in Rhode Island.

Blood pressure is “one of the biological underpinnings of heart disease,” said Loucks, urging policy-makers who want to improve public health to think about improving access to education.

The study focused on systolic blood pressure over diastolic blood pressure because “systolic hypertension is substantially more common than diastolic hypertension, and systolic blood pressure contributes more to the global disease burden attributable to hypertension than diastolic blood pressure.”

Agence France-Presse
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  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_QMPOO3PZFN7XV2XZKCGSXXR3WM Joe Somebody

    Who would have thought? Knowing stuff and being able to figure solutions to problems keeps your fear response from running on overdrive all the time and keeps your blood pressure lower.

    Knowledge is power. Power to make a better life. Power to make a better world. Power to determine your own destiny. Power to live healthier. No WONDER “they” don’t want people “knowing stuff”… makes it that much harder to keep us slaves.. Oh, right.. the Slaves weren’t allowed to read or learn, either. The idea was the more ignorant the slave the easier it was to keep them “in line”..

    Sound familiar?

  • Anonymous

    I’m sorry, but I’m a nurse and I say this correlation is just completely ridiculous. Like seriously…higher education usually means more job security, less stress, more money, better health care, a healthier diet, etc. This study falsely claims that a piece of paper—which doesn’t automatically mean one is intelligent, in my honest opinion—is somehow related to a lower incidence of hypertension. No…that piece of paper gets you a better job, and ensures you will have all of those things I listed above. Stress and diet are two of the most important contributors to hypertension, and if you were to take say…a wealthy businessman who flunked out of college, yet runs a successful business, he probably has a lower blood pressure than an unemployed MBA graduate. Just sayin’