Psychosocial Risk Factors for Coronary Heart Disease in Swedish Women
|Study Start Date:||September 1992|
|Estimated Study Completion Date:||August 1996|
The incidence of non-fatal myocardial infarction in Swedish women below age 60 increased during the past 20 years. Standard risk factor change includes a decrease in average systolic blood pressure and S-cholesterol but a moderate increase in smoking and diabetes prevalence. During the same time period Swedish women have 'moved' into the labor market, so that employment rates are now similar in Swedish men and women. However, women have kept the main responsibilities for household and child care. In spite of generous legislation for maternity leave and child care, the strains from multiple roles and responsibilities have probably increased in Swedish women. The study sought to provide an answer to: 1) which factors - biological and behavioral - influenced both the extent of and progress of coronary artery disease, 2) which physiological, biochemical, or neuroendocrine mechanisms participated in the process. In addition to conventional statistical methods, canonical correlations analyses were used to describe direct and indirect pathways of the pathogenesis. Furthermore, by means of the two comparison groups, information was obtained about the specific characteristics of the female psychosocial and behavioral coronary heart disease risk profile.
The role of social strain was studied within a broader psychosocial context including social networks, social supports, social skills, reciprocity, coping, stressors, chronic work strain, family structure, personality and behavior characteristics. These aspects were related to possible physiologic cardiovascular mechanisms including reactivity of and persistent elevated heart rates and blood pressure on ambulatory monitoring as well as cardiac dysrhythmia and silent or symptomatic ischemia. Psychoneuroendocrine pathways were also investigated. These included catecholamines, cortisol, prolactin, estrogen, testosterone, gastrin, somatostatin. Other biochemical measures included lipid profile, coagulation, thrombolysis and immune function. These examinations were applied to all women below age 60, living in the greater Stockholm area, with signs or symptoms of coronary heart disease. The women were followed and reexamined (including angiograms) after 2 to 2.5 years. They were compared to an equal number of age matched men and to an equal number of age matched healthy women from the same catchment area.
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