Knowledge of risk factors for diabetes or cardiovascular disease (CVD) is poor among individuals with risk factors for CVD

Monique F. Kilkenny, Libby Dunstan, Doreen Busingye, Tara Purvis, Megan Reyneke, Mary Orgill, Dominique A. Cadilhac

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Background There is limited evidence on whether having pre-existing cardiovascular disease (CVD) or risk factors for CVD such as diabetes, ensures greater knowledge of risk factors important for motivating preventative behaviours. Our objective was to compare knowledge among the Australian public participating in a health check program and their risk status. Methods Data from the Stroke Foundation 'Know your numbers' program were used. Staff in community pharmacies provided opportunistic health checks (measurement of blood pressure and diabetes risk assessment) among their customers. Participants were categorised: 1) CVD ± risk of CVD: history of stroke, heart disease or kidney disease, and may have risk factors; 2) risk of CVD only: reported having high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes or atrial fibrillation; and 3) CVD risk free (no CVD or risk of CVD). Multivariable logistic regression analyses were performed including adjustment for age and sex. Findings Among 4,647 participants, 12% had CVD (55% male, 85% aged 55+ years), 47% were at risk of CVD (40% male, 72% 55+ years) and 41% were CVD risk free (33% male, 27% 55+ years). Participants with CVD (OR: 0.66; 95% CI: 0.55, 0.80) or risk factors for CVD (OR: 0.65; 95% CI: 0.57, 0.73) had poorer knowledge of the risk factors for diabetes/CVD compared to those who were CVD risk free. After adjustment, only participants with risk factors for CVD (OR: 0.80; 95% CI: 0.69, 0.93) had poorer knowledge. Older participants (55+ years) and men had poorer knowledge of diabetes/CVD risk factors and complications of diabetes. Conclusions Participants with poorer knowledge of risk factors were older, more often male or were at risk of developing CVD compared with those who were CVD risk free. Health education in these high risk groups should be a priority, as diabetes and CVD are increasing in prevalence throughout the world.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0172941
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2017

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