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Am J Cardiol. 2011 May 15;107(10):1480-8. doi: 10.1016/j.amjcard.2011.01.023. Epub 2011 Mar 15.

Patients' knowledge of risk and protective factors for cardiovascular disease.

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  • 1Division of General Medicine, Baystate Medical Center, Springfield, Massachusetts, USA.


Coronary heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States. The American Heart Association has proposed improving overall cardiovascular health by promoting 7 components of ideal cardiovascular health, including health behaviors (not smoking, regular exercise, and healthy diet) and health factors (ideal body mass index, cholesterol, blood pressure, and blood glucose). The patients' knowledge of these 7 components is unknown. We performed a cross-sectional survey of patients at 4 primary care and 1 cardiology clinic. The survey measured demographic data, personal behaviors/health factors, cardiovascular disease history, and knowledge about these 7 components. A multivariate model was developed to assess patient characteristics associated with high knowledge scores. Of the 2,200 surveys distributed, 1,702 (77%) were returned with sufficient responses for analysis. Of these, 49% correctly identified heart disease as the leading cause of death, and 37% (95% confidence interval [CI] 35% to 39%) correctly identified all 7 components. The average respondent identified 4.9 components (95% CI 4.7 to 5.0). The lowest recognition rates were for exercise (57%), fruit/vegetable consumption (58%), and diabetes (63%). In a multivariate model, knowledge of all 7 components was positively associated with high school education or greater (odds ratio 2.43, 95% CI 1.68 to 3.52) and white ethnicity (odds ratio 1.78, 95% CI 1.27 to 2.50), and negatively associated with attending an urban neighborhood clinic (odds ratio 0.60, 95% CI 0.44 to 0.82). In conclusion, just >1/3 of patients could identify all 7 components of ideal cardiovascular health. Educational efforts should target patients in low socioeconomic strata and focus on improving knowledge about healthy diet and regular exercise. Although patients with diabetes were more likely than those without diabetes to recognize their risk, 1 in 5 were not aware that diabetes is a risk factor for cardiovascular disease.

Copyright © 2011 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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