Association between cardiovascular disease and socioeconomic level in Portugal.

Research paper by Sónia S Ribeiro, Cláudia C Furtado, João J Pereira

Indexed on: 15 Oct '13Published on: 15 Oct '13Published in: Revista Portuguesa de Cardiologia


Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of morbidity, mortality and disability in Portugal. Socioeconomic level is known to influence health status but there is scant evidence on socioeconomic inequalities in cardiovascular disease in Portugal.To analyze the distribution of cardiovascular disease in the Portuguese population according to socioeconomic status.We conducted a cross-sectional study using data from the fourth National Health Survey on a representative sample of the Portuguese population. Socioeconomic inequalities in cardiovascular disease, risk factors and number of medical visits were analyzed using odds ratios according to socioeconomic status (household equivalent income) in the adult population (35-74 years). Comparisons focused on the top and bottom 50% and 10% of household income distribution.Of the 21 807 individuals included, 53.3% were female, and mean age was 54 ± 11 years. Cardiovascular disease, stroke, ischemic heart disease, hypertension, diabetes, obesity and physical inactivity were associated with lower socioeconomic status, while smoking was associated with higher status; number of medical visits and psychological distress showed no association. When present, inequality was greater at the extremes of income distribution.The results reveal an association between morbidity, lifestyle and socioeconomic status. They also suggest that besides improved access to effective medical intervention, there is a need for a comprehensive strategy for health promotion and disease prevention that takes account of individual, cultural and socioeconomic characteristics.