Abstract 2096: Women’s Perception of Lifetime Risk for Having an Acute Myocardial Infarction
CHD claims the lives of more women than any other disease, yet few women perceive that they are at risk for this serious health condition. Public education campaigns have been implemented to heighten women’s awareness of CHD. The aim of this study was to determine factors associated with the perception of one’s lifetime risk for AMI in women residing in an area in which great effort was made to educate the public about women and CHD. This longitudinally-repeated, cross-sectional study involved five annual random-digit dialing surveys conducted before (2001) and after (2002 – 2005) implementing a local women and CHD public education campaign. The mean age in this sample of 1,470 women was 54 ± 8 years and the majority were White (91%), with >high school education (67%). Only 45% perceived that they were at risk for AMI, yet 84% had one or more cardiac risk factors. Logistic regression analysis, adjusted for demographic characteristics; CHD risk factors, sources of information, and knowledge; lifestyle behaviors; and survey year, revealed that the perception of lifetime AMI risk increases with every additional risk factor (OR = 1.77; 95% CI = 1.60, 1.95), knowing other women with an AMI (OR = 1.76; 95% CI = 1.40, 2.22), having discussed heart-health concerns with physician (OR = 1.42; 95% CI = 1.02, 1.98), knowledge of AMI signs common in women (OR = 1.39; 95% CI = 1.10, 1.74), and receipt of primary care from an internal medicine or family practice physician (OR = 1.36; 95% CI = 1.02, 1.81). Public education campaigns alone may not be the most effective means of increasing women’s perception of their lifetime risk of AMI. These results underscore the importance of gender-specific, individualized CHD education. Women personalize their risk for AMI when the sources of information are valued human resources, such as healthcare professionals and women who have had an AMI.