Although the Antwerp population has good knowledge of cardiovascular disease, most adults underestimate their own risk. This is evident from a survey of the University of Antwerp on the occasion of the International Day of the Heart.
Researchers from SPICES, a project on the prevention of cardiovascular diseases among vulnerable target groups, surveyed 643 randomly selected adults from Antwerp. The research shows that knowledge of cardiovascular diseases among the Antwerp population is quite good. For knowledge, women scored on average 6.8 out of 9 and men 6.7. Only 5 percent of the participants scored less than half.
Almost a third of the participants were unaware that people with diabetes are at an increased risk of heart attack or stroke. That a family history of cardiovascular disease is a risk factor for high blood pressure was not known by two-thirds of the participants.
When it comes to estimating their own risk, the participants fared less well. Women showed a better score with an average of 15.6 out of a maximum of 27 than men with 14.1. People with a higher income had a better risk perception of cardiovascular disease.
According to research leader Hilde Bastiaens, it is crucial to raise awareness about cardiovascular diseases, because they are the leading cause of disease and death among adults worldwide. “Lifestyle factors such as too little exercise, unhealthy food, stress or smoking have a major influence on the development of cardiovascular disease. Certainly in times of covid-19, we see that a healthy lifestyle is an extra challenge.”
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