Occupational status, educational level, and the prevalence of carotid atherosclerosis in a general population sample of middle-aged Swedish men and women: results from the Malmo Diet and Cancer Study

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Abstract

The associations among educational level, occupational status, and atherosclerosis were investigated during 1992-1994 in a general population sample of 4,176 Swedish men and women. Carotid artery intima-media thickness (IMT) and carotid stenosis were determined by B-mode ultrasound. Socioeconomic differences in mean carotid IMT and odds ratios for carotid stenosis prevalence were estimated. In women, the associations among educational level, occupational status, and IMT were weak. In men, there was no association between education and IMT, while low occupational status was associated with a thicker IMT. Women with low education had an increased odds of carotid stenosis compared with women with high education (odds ratio (OR) = 2.04, 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.53, 2.73), while this pattern was weaker among men. Women in manual occupations had an increased odds of carotid stenosis compared with women in high- or medium-level nonmanual occupations (OR = 1.75, 95% CI: 1.29, 2.36), which could not be seen among men. After adjustment for risk factors, the association between IMT and occupational status in men disappeared, while the associations among educational level, occupational status, and carotid stenosis in women persisted. The results imply that the atherosclerotic process is associated with socioeconomic status in both sexes, and they also indicate the possibility of sex differences in the mechanisms connecting socioeconomic status to atherosclerosis.

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  • Public Health, Global Health, Social Medicine and Epidemiology
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)334-346
JournalAmerican Journal of Epidemiology
Volume152
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2000
Publication categoryResearch
Peer-reviewedYes