Abstract WP174: Public Perceived Risk of Stroke, Myocardial Infarction, and Cancer
Introduction: Stroke is the fourth leading cause of death in the United States, yet community stroke awareness remains low. Perceptions of individual risk prompt changes in health behavior. Previous reports show community awareness is higher for heart disease than stroke. We hypothesized that public perception of their personal risk of MI and cancer would be significantly higher than stroke.
Methods: Telephone survey respondents were drawn from our biracial population of 1.3 million using random-digit dialing in 2010 to reflect the age, race, and gender distribution of stroke patients, based an ongoing stroke incidence study in the same region.Respondents were asked to rate their risk of having a stroke, heart attack, cancer, and for women, breast cancer on a scale of 0-10. Analysis was restricted to 1959 of 2036 respondents who were of black or white race. Comparisons were made using analysis of covariance to adjust for age, education, hypertension, diabetes, smoking, coronary artery disease (CAD) and prior stroke.
Results: Respondents were well-matched to previous descriptions of ischemic stroke populations: 28% black, 61% female, with a mean age of 66.3((±14.7). Overall, respondents thought they had the highest risk of MI, followed by stroke and cancer. However, blacks had a significantly lower perceived risk of stroke, MI, and cancer, after adjusting for confounders.
Discussion: Perceived risk of stroke was higher than we expected compared to other common diseases, second only to heart attack. Blacks had significantly lower perceived risks than whites for stroke, MI, and cancer. Future public awareness campaigns should consider linking risks of stroke with risks of MI, especially as MI and stroke share many preventative strategies. Racial differences in perceived risk should be evaluated as a target for intervention as perceived risk is associated with changes in health behavior.
- © 2012 by American Heart Association, Inc.