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Eur Heart J. 2009 Jun;30(11):1378-84. doi: 10.1093/eurheartj/ehp072. Epub 2009 Mar 18.

Socioeconomic status, blood pressure progression, and incident hypertension in a prospective cohort of female health professionals.

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Division of Preventive Medicine, Department of Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA.



The aim of this study was to examine the association between socioeconomic status, blood pressure (BP) progression, and incident hypertension.


We included 27 207 female health professionals free of hypertension and cardiovascular disease at baseline. Participants were classified into five education and six income categories. The main outcome variables were BP progression at 48 months of follow-up and incident hypertension during the entire study period. At 48 months, 48.1% of women had BP progression. The multivariable adjusted relative risks [95% confidence intervals (CIs)] for BP progression were 1.0 (referent), 0.96 (0.92-1.00), 0.92 (0.88-0.96), 0.90 (0.85-0.94), and 0.84 (0.78-0.91) (P for trend <0.0001) across increasing education categories and 1.0 (referent), 1.01 (0.94-1.08), 0.99 (0.93-1.06), 0.97 (0.91-1.04), 0.96 (0.90-1.03), and 0.89 (0.83-0.96) across increasing income categories (P for trend = 0.0001). During a median follow-up of 9.8 years, 8248 cases of incident hypertension occurred. Multivariable adjusted hazard ratios (95% CI) were 1.0 (referent), 0.92 (0.86-0.99), 0.85 (0.79-0.92), 0.87 (0.80-0.94), and 0.74 (0.65-0.84) (P for trend <0.0001) across increasing education categories and 1.0 (referent), 1.07 (0.95-1.21), 1.07 (0.95-1.20), 1.06 (0.94-1.18), 1.04 (0.93-1.16), and 0.93 (0.82-1.06) (P for trend 0.08) across increasing income categories. In joint analyses, education but not income remained associated with BP progression and incident hypertension.


Socioeconomic status, as determined by education but not by income, is a strong independent predictor of BP progression and incident hypertension in women.

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