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Socioeconomic position and coronary heart disease in older age: associations and possible pathways

Ramsay, S.E.; (2009) Socioeconomic position and coronary heart disease in older age: associations and possible pathways. Doctoral thesis, UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

Low socioeconomic position is known to be associated with greater coronary heart disease (CHD) risk in most developed countries. However, studies have largely focused on the association between socioeconomic position and CHD in middle-aged populations and little is known about the extent to which socioeconomic position affects CHD risk in later life. This thesis uses the British Regional Heart Study, a populationbased cohort of British men to investigate the extent of socioeconomic inequalities in CHD in older age and the possible pathways to these inequalities. Issues addressed in detail include trends in socioeconomic inequalities in CHD with increasing age and over time, the extent of socioeconomic inequalities in CHD in older age (60-79 years), the contribution of established and novel coronary risk factors to these inequalities, and the influence of early life socioeconomic position on CHD risk in later life. Although CHD mortality declined over the last two decades in Britain, relative social class differences in CHD did not narrow between 1980 and 2005. With increasing age (from 40-59 years to 65-84 years), relative social class inequalities in CHD narrowed, although absolute differences widened with age. Marked socioeconomic differences in CHD were present in older age; CHD risk increased from the highest to the lowest social class group. Socioeconomic differences in behavioural coronary risk factors (particularly cigarette smoking) could explain at least a third of these inequalities; inflammatory markers made some additional contribution. Lower socioeconomic position in childhood was associated with increased CHD risk in older age; part of this association was due to the relationship of childhood socioeconomic position with adult behavioural factors. Appreciable socioeconomic inequalities were also present in disability among older men with CHD. The results suggest that important socioeconomic inequalities in CHD persist in older age; the implications for public health and further epidemiological research are discussed.

Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Title:Socioeconomic position and coronary heart disease in older age: associations and possible pathways
Open access status:An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language:English
Additional information:Due to copyright, this version does not contain published articles that appear in appendix II
UCL classification:UCL > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Institute of Epidemiology and Health Care > Primary Care and Population Health

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