Socio-economic status influences blood pressure control despite equal access to care

Fam Pract. 2012 Oct;29(5):503-10. doi: 10.1093/fampra/cmr130. Epub 2012 Jan 10.


Objective: Denmark has a health care system with free and equal access to care irrespective of age and socio-economic status (SES). We conducted a cross-sectional study to investigate a possible association between SES and blood pressure (BP) control of hypertensive patients treated in general practice.

Methods: We enrolled 184 general practices and 5260 hypertensive patients. The general practitioners reported information about BP and diagnosis of diabetes. Information about education, income, antihypertensive drug treatment and other co-morbidity was retrieved from relevant registers from Statistics Denmark. The outcome measure was BP control defined as BP <140/90 mmHg in general and <130/80 mmHg in diabetics.

Results: Patients <65 years and with an educational level of 10-12 years had increased odds ratio (OR) of BP control compared to patients with an educational level <10 years. Patients ≥65 years had increased OR of BP control if they were married/cohabiting as compared to being single, whereas education and income had no impact in this age group. Diabetics had significantly reduced odds of BP control irrespective of age, educational or income level.

Conclusions: Despite equal access to care for all patients, SES had significant impact on BP control in this survey. Diabetes and cardiovascular disease also had a substantial influence irrespective of age, educational and income level.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Denmark
  • Diabetic Angiopathies / drug therapy
  • Educational Status
  • Female
  • General Practice
  • Health Services Accessibility*
  • Humans
  • Hypertension / drug therapy*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Outcome Assessment, Health Care
  • Registries
  • Social Class*