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People With Lower Incomes, Lower Education Levels Have Higher Death Rates After Experiencing Heart Attack
Date:6/17/2008

ROCHESTER, Minn., June 17 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Researchers have long suspected that socioeconomic factors like education level and income also might affect survival rates following heart attack. In the June issue of Mayo Clinic Proceedings, Mayo Clinic researchers present new data suggesting that people with lower incomes and education levels are more likely to die after heart attack than more affluent, educated people. Over the past several decades, medical research has helped identify a list of factors that increase a person's risk for myocardial infarction, the disruption of blood flow to the heart commonly known as heart attack. These factors include behaviors such as smoking or inactivity, and a variety of physical characteristics, including high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol and obesity. Today, better awareness of heart attack signs and symptoms and improved treatments help many survive that first heart attack.

Mayo authors examined medical records from 705 patients residing in Olmsted County, Minn. -- the location of Mayo Clinic -- who were treated for heart attack between Nov. 1, 2002 and May 31, 2006. Researchers recorded the years of schooling completed (self-reported by the patients via a questionnaire) and neighborhood income (obtained by linking the participant address to the 2000 U.S. Census Bureau data) for each participant. Participants were divided into three income groups and three education groups. Researchers analyzed survival data across these different groups.

Among the 155 deaths recorded during the study period, one-year survival estimates across income groups were lowest for people with the lowest income. Seventy-five percent were survivors among people earning $28,732 to $44,665; 83 percent survived among people earning $49,435 to $53,561; and 86 percent survived among people earning $56,992 to $74,034. Similarly, the survival rates were lowest for participants with less education. Sixty-seven perce
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SOURCE Mayo Clinic Proceedings
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