Background: Hypertension is a leading cause of cardiovascular events. We examined whether there was a gender difference in the association between SES, measured by education and income, and hypertension incidence.
Methods: Data for 2596 men and 2686 women aged 40-69 years without hypertension at baseline from the Korean Genome and Epidemiology Study (KoGES) were analyzed. Participants had two follow-up examinations during 4 years, and were classified into three categories by self-reported educational attainment: ≥ 10 years, 7-9 years, and 0-6 years, and monthly household income (×10,000 Korean Won): ≥ 200, 100-199, and <100. The association between SES and incidence hypertension was examined by Cox's proportional hazard regression analyses.
Results: Adjusting for conventional risk factors, compared with the high education group (reference), the hazard ratios (95% confidence interval) for incident hypertension across the education categories were 1.54 (1.16-2.06) and 1.80 (1.36-2.38) in women and 1.15 (0.92-1.43), and 1.08 (0.84-1.38) in men. Women with the low household income were more likely to have hypertension than those with the high household income and incident hypertension had an inverse association with household income level in women: multivariate adjusted hazard ratios were 1.00 (reference), 1.10 (0.83-1.45), and 1.63 (0.75-2.16). Men with medium income were less likely to have hypertension compared with those with high income (0.76, 0.61-0.90).
Conclusions: Educational level and economic status had stronger impacts on hypertension in Korean women than men. Thus, a stratified approach for women of low socioeconomic status, especially those with low educational attainment, is needed for the prevention of hypertension.