Coronary Heart Disease in Ethnically Diverse Women: Risk Perception and Communication

Christian, Allison H.; Mochari, Heidi Y.; Mosca, Lori J.
December 2005
Mayo Clinic Proceedings;Dec2005, Vol. 80 Issue 12, p1593
Academic Journal
OBJECTIVES: To assess perceived vs calculated risk of coronary heart disease (CHD), preferred methods of communicating risk, and the effect of brief educational Intervention to improve accurate perceptions of personal risk. SUBJECTS AND METHODS: Of 1858 women who underwent screening mammography between April and September 2003 at the Columbia University Medical Center in New York, NY, we assessed 125 women with no history of cardiovascular disease who participated in a risk factor screening and education program. Demographic variables were evaluated by interviewer-assisted standardized questionnaires. Absolute 10-year CHD risk was calculated using the Framingham global risk assessment. Perceived 10-year risk and preferred method of communicating risk were evaluated systematically. RESULTS: Among 110 research participants who were eligible for risk estimation, 59% had a 10-year risk of less than 10%. However, only half of those women accurately perceived their risk as low. After a brief educational intervention, the women's ability to correctly categorize their personal CHD risk improved significantly. Preferred methods to communicate risk varied by level of education and age. Older women (⩾5 years) and those with a high school education or less were more likely to prefer simple methods of having CHD risk communicated compared with their counterparts. CONCLUSIONS: These data underscore the need to determine preferences for providing risk Information and to test various formats for communicating CHD risk to improve awareness and management of CHD risk factors, especially among women of different age groups and education levels


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