More Education Equals Better Blood Pressure?

For those of you thinking about whether to continue your education after high school, things may soon become clearer. A new study shows a link between higher education and lower blood pressure. And females, take note. The link is more apparent in women.

Here’s the story: Researchers at Brown University studied another study called the Framingham Offspring Study. That study followed patients over 30 years at seven different physical examinations. The data collected was used to determine the average systolic blood pressure of participants. Systolic blood pressure is the top number you get when someone gives you a blood pressure reading; it signifies the pressure in arteries when your heart is beating. A high number can be bad. Something called isolated systolic hypertension can lead to problems like heart disease, chronic kidney disease and possibly strokes. In case you’re wondering, isolated systolic hypertension is when …”you have a diastolic number less than 90 millimeters of mercury (mm Hg) and a systolic number greater than 140 mm Hg.”

If you want to read more about isolated systolic hypertension and systolic blood pressure, go here.

Researchers looking at all the study data found out that participants with 12 years of education or fewer had higher blood pressure than those with at least 17 years. And the association was stronger in women, as we mentioned above.

Read the entire study here.

Of course this is one study and certainly not enough to get too excited over.  In fact, this article on the Huffington Post quotes Natasha Stewart, a senior cardiac nurse at the British Heart Foundation as saying, “”…the study only showed a small blood pressure drop among women and an insignificant decrease among men.”

Also, it is important to note that the researchers couldn’t really explain why a higher education would have any impact on blood pressure levels.

If a link were confirmed by future studies, then the findings would add to student motivation. A higher salary, greater achievement, and a brighter future might not be enough, but perhaps better health would convince skeptical students that more schooling is necessary. Certainly, a high school education does not have the value it once did. It is a requirement for any job, but it’s rarely enough to get anyone a stable position in a good working environment.

Regardless, we know nothing for sure right now. But this study raises an intriguing possibility to consider. Stay tuned…

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