People's perception of their overall coronary risk: An Italian experience

Gabriele Ferrario, Olga Alkhimovitch, Fausto Avanzini, Carlo Cirrincione, Gianfranca Galloni, Stefano Marchesi, Andrea Pellegrini, Daria Roccatagliata, Maria Carla Roncaglioni, Tiziano E. Russo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background. Strategies to prevent cardiovascular diseases are still not widely applied. It is vital to involve people for effective prevention, and knowledge of their own coronary risk is a first step. Little is known about how people perceive their coronary risk. For this reason, we examined this perception in a sample of the general population and compared it with a reference risk chart. Methods. We invited the population of two small towns to come for a free check of their blood pressure and blood cholesterol levels. People were first asked to complete a self-administered questionnaire grading their perceived risk of developing a coronary event. Then, basic data were collected for calculating their risk according to a reference chart. Results. A total of 877 individuals (382 males, 495 females, age 30-80 years) without ischemic heart disease completed the questionnaire and had their blood pressure and cholesterol checked. Many important risk factors are still not taken into account by patients, particularly male sex, older age and diabetes. One out of 4 subjects underestimates his level of coronary risk and 9 out of 10 high-risk subjects are not even aware of it. Conclusions. Our study shows that large numbers of persons are still unaware of their level of coronary risk and of its major determinants. Better counseling by general practitioners is needed since a realistic perception of risk is essential for reducing it.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)16-21
Number of pages6
JournalItalian Heart Journal
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2004


  • Coronary artery disease
  • Prevention
  • Risk factors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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