Purpose: Mortality from cardiovascular diseases in Russia is among the highest in the world but little is known about its distribution by socio-demographic factors. We investigated this question in a prospective cohort study based on the Novosibirsk MONICA Project.
Method: The cohort consisted of 6485 men and 4919 women aged 25 to 64 years at baseline, examined in 4 surveys in 1984, 1985/86, 1988/89, and 1994/95, and followed up for an average 10.3 (range 3.1-15.2) years. Participants reported their education and marital status in a questionnaire; the information on risk factors was collected in a short medical examination.
Results: A total of 836 male and 226 female deaths occurred during the follow up. High education was associated with reduced mortality from all causes, cardiovascular disease, and coronary heart disease in both genders. Age-adjusted relative risk of death from cardiovascular diseases for university vs. primary education was 0.6 (0.4-0.8) in men and 0.4 (0.2-0.8) in women. Adjustment for coronary risk factors and marital status substantially reduced the relative risk in men but not in women. There was no consistent relation between education and stroke. Unmarried men had higher mortality from all causes, cardiovascular and coronary heart disease than married subjects; the increased risk of divorced men was not explained by coronary risk factors or low education. Unmarried women had higher all-cause mortality than married women but associations between marital status and cardiovascular diseases were inconsistent.
Conclusion: The educational differences in total and cardiovascular mortality in Russia are of similar direction and magnitude as in western populations. The educational differences in cardiovascular mortality in women and the increased mortality of divorced men were not explained by classical risk factors.