Washington: Education is not only limited to brain but heart disorders too. A new study has highlighted that people who completed higher levels of education, were less prone to heart attack and stroke.

Previous researches have shown that every 3.6 years spent in education can reduce a person’s risk of heart disease by a third. Analysis in the study published in the journal BMJ suggested every 3.6 additional years in education was linked to a reduction in BMI of 1kg/m2, and a reduction in systolic blood pressure of 3mm/Hg.

Dr. Dipender Gill, the co-first author said, “We know from previous research that someone who spends more time in education has a lower risk of heart disease and stroke, we didn’t know why.” “One possibility is that people who spend more time in education tend to engage more with healthcare services, and see their doctor sooner with any health complaints,” he added.

Alice Carter, co-author explained, “By lowering BMI, blood pressure or rates of smoking in individuals who left school at an earlier age, we could reduce their overall risk of heart disease.” For the study, scientists used two types of analysis to investigate the link between education and cardiovascular risk.

In the first approach, they analysed data from over 200,000 people in the UK and compared the number of years individuals spent in education with their body mass index (BMI), blood pressure, the lifetime amount they have smoked, and consequent cardiovascular disease events such as heart attack or stroke.

In the second approach, the research team used a type of analysis called Mendelian randomisation. The team searched through data from more than one million people to investigate the link between education and cardiovascular disease risk focusing on points in the genome where a single ‘letter’ difference in the DNA – called a single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) – has been linked to years in schooling.

The team assessed the link between these genetic markers for years in schooling with genetic markers for BMI, blood pressure and lifetime smoking (the researchers only assessed years in education and did not analyse intelligence in any way).

Using these two methods, they found that body mass index, blood pressure and smoking contribute to the effect of education, explaining up to 18 per cent, 27 per cent and 34 per cent respectively. Combined, these factors accounted for 40 per cent of the effect of education on cardiovascular risk.