Determinants of cardiovascular diseases and mortality in individuals with eastern and western European background
Christian Wegner-Siegmundt, Wittgenstein Centre (IIASA, VID/ÖAW, WU)
George B. Ploubidis, University of London
Marc Luy, Wittgenstein Centre (IIASA, VID/ÖAW, WU)
Cardiovascular diseases (CVD) are the leading causes of death for both sexes in all European countries. The aim of our study is to identify important determinants of long-term changes in the prevalence of CVD and all-cause mortality among elderly individuals who were socialized in western and eastern European regimes, respectively. We use the two-wave panel of the German Life Expectancy Survey to analyse the impact of specific life conditions at 1984/86 in western and 1991/92 in eastern Germany and life course experiences on changes in the self-reported prevalence of CVD at baseline and at follow-up in 1998 as well as on all-cause mortality between the survey waves among individuals aged 50 and older. We used binary logistic regression models stratified by sex and country of residence. The results show that CVD at baseline is primarily related to age in eastern as well as western Germany. Whereas among western German women and men the occurrence of CVD at baseline is also significantly related to lower social class, such an effect was not observed in the eastern German subsample. But it is very interesting that in all four subpopulations mortality is significant related to age, sportive inactivity and smoking. We found significant similarities as well as differences in the drivers of CVD and mortality among individuals whose life courses were determined by eastern or western European background. Thus, our study indicates that past influences of the different political systems have at least partly different effects on the wellbeing and the longevity of individuals.