State Wealth A Predictor of Heart Inflammation

Wealth of US states affects cardiovascular health in women

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) The wealth of individual U.S. states also appears to predict cardiovascular health in women. Women from wealthier states were found to have lower levels of heart inflammation, a key heart disease risk factor.

Women from poorer states, on the other hand, were found more likely to experience heart inflammation that could potentially lead to cardiovascular disease.

"Maintain a healthy body weight to lower heart disease risk."

Dr. Cheryl R. Clark, lead study investigator and the director of health equity research and intervention at the Center for Community Health and Health Equity at Brigham and Women's Hospital, said that geography matters when it comes to heart disease risk. She said the findings suggest the resources of individual states may contribute to early risk factors for cardiovascular disease in women.

During the study researchers studied each state's gross domestic product, poverty rate and level of financial inequality. Those findings were then compared to biomarkers of heart inflammation in 26,029 women who took part in the nationwide Women's Health Study. Investigators measured the women for several biomarkers including high sensitivity C-reactive protein, soluble intercellular adhesion molecule-1 and fibrinogen.

They found that women residing in wealthier states were more likely to have lower levels of heart inflammation as compared to states that were not as wealthy. Women in poorer states had higher levels of heart inflammation.

The wealthiest states included California, Connecticut and Massachusetts, while the states with the fewest resources included Mississippi, West Virginia and Arkansas. Participants from wealthier states were found less likely to be obese, have diabetes or smoke, and more likely to exercise and have higher personal income.

Investigators noted that women's heart inflammation was still significantly impacted by a state's wealth even after examining factors including a woman's diet, weight, exercise level and smoking status, as well as her personal income. Additional research would be needed to determine the reasons behind the finding.

This research. funded by a National Institutes of Health-National Institute of Aging grant, was published March 20 in journal BMC Public Health.

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Review Date: 
March 20, 2012
Last Updated:
March 21, 2012