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Ever had hardening of the arteries

Codes and Frequencies

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For sample persons over age 18 in 1983 and over age 55 in 1984, this variable indicates if the respondent ever had hardening of the arteries. The condition did not have to be diagnosed by a doctor or health professional, and a definition of "hardening" was not provided in the survey text or in the Field Representative's Manuals . In 1983, the question used the phrase "hardening of the arteries" and in 1984 the question used the phrase, "hardening of the arteries or arteriosclerosis." According to the National Library of Medicine, the latter if a condition which is caused when fat and other substances "build up in the walls of arteries and form hard structures called plaques." Interviewers were instructed to circle the appropriate condition or circle both if necessary, although the NHIS and IPUMS NHIS do not provide separate variables.


In 1984, this variable was of 13 health conditions included in the Supplement on Aging. In 1983, this variable was one of 25 health conditions included in the Alcohol and Health Practices module supplement. The Field Representative's Manual mentioned that the conditions included in the inquiry were those that were some of the most common conditions that "may be related in some smoking, alcohol use, or other health practices." Interviewers asked respondents to report if they EVER had any of the 25 conditions, and respondents could indicate yes or no for as many as conditions necessary, but could not specify any "other" condition. (If the sample person reported a condition other than the one being asked about, interviewers re-asked the question to emphasize that they were only interested in the conditions listed on the survey).


This variable is comparable for 1983 and 1984. The slight changes in the wording should not affect responses.


  • 1983; 1988: Sample adults age 18+.
  • 1984: Sample persons age 55+.


  • 1983-1984, 1988