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Changes in the perception of risk factors for stroke in the German population: Experience from two representative surveys 1995-1996 and 2000-2001

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M Wagner, S Roebers, J Breckenkamp, J Heidrich, B Mohn, K Berger, P U Heuschmann

Translated title of the contributionChanges in the perception of risk factors for stroke in the German population: Experience from two representative surveys 1995-1996 and 2000-2001
Original languageGerman
Pages (from-to)314 - 318
Number of pages5
JournalDeutsche Medizinische Wochenschrift
Volume131
Issue number7
DOIs
Published17 Feb 2006

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  • King's College London

Abstract

Background and objective: Stroke is one of the leading causes for death and disability worldwide. A better understanding of the perception of modifiable stroke risk factors in the population is the first step to initiate effective prevention strategies on population level. Changes over 5 years in the risk perception in the general population were investigated by two representative surveys in Germany. Methods: Nationwide programs to screen voluntary participants for stroke risk were undertaken in 1995-1996 and 2000-2001 by the German Stroke Foundation, in cooperation with the health insurance company BARMER and the Sanofi-Synthelabo Company. As part of these programmes two surveys were performed by TNS-EM-NID to collect data on population knowledge. A representative sample of the German population was selected and asked to categorize their perception of stroke risk for common vascular risk factors. Results: A total of 8193 participants were interviewed (4081 in 1995-1996 and 4112 in 2000-2001); 43.5% were >= 50 years of age and 52.5% were female. Hypertension was rated by 68.3% to be in the highest risk category for stroke, followed by smoking (52.3%), hypercholesterolemia (48.0%), overweight (48.0%), excessive alcohol consumption (32.9%) and diabetes (26.6%). The proportion of participants who graded these factors to be important for stroke occurrence was persistently higher in 2000-2001 than in 1995-1996. Conclusion: Perception of modifiable risk factors for stroke increased over a 5-year time period in two representative surveys in Germany. The importance of diabetes mellitus as a risk factor for stroke is especially underestimated in the general population

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