Study objective: Systemic inflammation may play an important part in the development of cardiovascular disease. It has also been shown that socioeconomic status predicts cardiovascular events independently of established risk factors. The aim of this study was to analyse the association of three sensitive markers of systemic inflammation: C reactive protein (CRP), serum amyloid A protein (SAA), and fibrinogen, with socioeconomic status.
Design: Cross sectional study.
Setting: Eastern and southern Finland.
Participants: 1503 men aged 45 to 74 years who participated in a cardiovascular risk factor survey in 1997. Based on the levels of education and family income, the men were classified to three socioeconomic groups.
Main results: Mean concentrations of CRP (p for the trend <0.001), SAA (p for the trend 0.018), and fibrinogen (p for the trend <0.001) decreased substantially with increasing socioeconomic status. The trends in CRP and fibrinogen remained statistically significant after adjustment for smoking, waist to hip ratio, and prevalent longstanding diseases, and a non-significant trend was found for SAA (p for the trend 0.118). The inverse association between inflammation markers and socioeconomic status was particularly strong among the men below 60 years of age.
Conclusions: Systemic inflammation is a potential mediator, especially among young and middle aged men, for the association between socioeconomic status and cardiovascular disease.