Higher education linked to lower BP

HOLDING an advanced education degree protects against low blood pressure (BP), particularly in women, new research shows. 

An analysis of 4000 patient records over a 30-year period from the Framingham Offspring Study revealed women who completed 17 years of schooling or more had systolic BP levels on average 3.26 mmHg lower compared with women who failed to finish high school.

Lower BP benefits remained after controlling for cardiovascular risk factors including smoking, drinking, obesity and BP. 

Men who undertook post-graduate degrees had a 2.26 mmHg lower BP compared with men who did not finish high school. 

“Education may have a greater impact on women’s health over their lifetime than on men’s health,” the authors said. Access to education could benefit public health, they said. 

BMC Public Health 2011, online 28 Feb