Does Higher Education Mean Lower Heart Failure Risk?

edcuationThere are obvious benefits to higher education. Of course, the theory is that more education—specialized education—leads to a better career and higher income. But with studious knowledge also comes an expanded perspective on the world. People who attend a university are typically introduced to other cultures and perspectives and this forces and encourages students to learn tolerance, patience, and empathy.

But a new study suggests that higher education has health benefits too. Sure, some would argue that because higher education typically leads to better jobs it means a higher income and, thus, less stress (overall) except maybe for student loan debt. The new study says, though, those with a higher education have a lower risk for heart failure after an initial heart attack.

Now, heart failure is, of course, a potentially life-threatening condition because it leads to the heart losing its ability to pump blood throughout the body. It is among the most deadly conditions in the world and symptoms include fatigue, shortness of breath, swollen ankles, and dizziness.

The study researchers explain “Heart failure is the most important incident in the chain of events leading to death after a heart attack and we hypothesised that it might contribute to the observed educational disparities in survival.”

For this study, the researchers looked at what they had already believed was a potential like between education and this heart failure risk after initial heart attack in more than 70,500 people between the ages of 35 and 85. each of these people had no history of heart failure but had been hospitalized for one heart attack between 2001 and 2009.

Furthermore, the population was grouped into three sub-populations: primary (up to 10 years basic education), secondary (through high school, as known in the United States), and tertiary (through university or college). In addition, “heart failure” was classified into two groups as well. These were early onset and late onset, distinguished by amount of time between first hospitalization and heart failure.

Approximately 18 percent of the study population had been diagnosed with early-onset and that those with a secondary education were 9 percent less likely to develop heart failure and that those with a tertiary education had a 20 percent lower risk when compared with those who only had a primary education.

In addition, nearly 12 percent of participants were also diagnosed with late-onset heart failure with an average follow-up time of three years. The secondary education population had a 14 percent lower risk and those with the tertiary education had a 27 percent lower risk.