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Perceived and actual stroke risk among men with hypertension

Powers BJ, Oddone EZ, Grubber JM, Olsen MK, Bosworth HB. Perceived and actual stroke risk among men with hypertension. Journal of clinical hypertension (Greenwich, Conn.). 2008 Apr 1; 10(4):287-94.

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The purposes of this study were to determine whether there is a significant correlation between the perceived and actual stroke risk among hypertensive patients and to identify patient characteristics associated with inaccurate estimation of stroke risk. The authors performed a cross-sectional analysis of 296 men with hypertension who were enrolled in the Veterans Study to Improve the Control of Hypertension (V-STITCH). A patient''s actual stroke risk was calculated using the Framingham stroke risk (FSR); patients'' perceived risk was measured according to a self-reported 10-point risk scale. The median 10-year FSR was 16%, but the median perceived risk score was 5 (range, 1 [lowest] to 10 [highest]). There was no significant correlation between patients'' perceived risk of stroke and their calculated FSR (Spearman rho = -0.08; P = .16; 95% confidence interval, -0.19 to 0.03). Patients who underestimated their stroke risk were significantly less likely to be worried about their blood pressure than patients with accurate risk perception (12.4% vs 69.6%; P < .0001). The lack of correlation between hypertensive patients'' perceived stroke risk and FSR supports the need for better patient education on the risks associated with hypertension.

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