BACKGROUND: A greater burden of stroke risk factors in general is associated with a higher risk for stroke among people of lower than those of higher socioeconomic position. The relative impact of individual stroke risk factors is still unclear. METHODS AND RESULTS: We studied the relations between socioeconomic position, measured as household income and length of education, and all hospital admissions for a first ischemic stroke among 54 048 people over the age of 40 years in Denmark in 2003-2012 in comparison with the general Danish population (23.5 million person-years). We also studied the cardiovascular risk factor profile associated with socioeconomic position in stroke patients. Relative risks for stroke were estimated in log-linear Poisson regression models. The risk for hospitalization for a first ischemic stroke was almost doubled for people in the lowest income group, and the risk of those of working age (<65 years) was increased by 36% among people with the shortest education. Diabetes, obesity, smoking, and high alcohol consumption in particular and, to a lesser extent, previous myocardial infarction or intermittent arterial claudication were significantly overrepresented among stroke patients with lower socioeconomic position. Atrial fibrillation and hypertension were not. CONCLUSIONS: In Denmark, there is a strong relation between low socioeconomic position and risk for hospitalization for stroke. Lifestyle, as indicated by smoking, obesity, and alcohol consumption, and diabetes appears to increase the risk for stroke in people with lower socioeconomic position.
Journal of the American Heart Association, 2014, Vol 3, Issue 4