Perception of risk for cardiovascular disease (CVD) is an important component of motivation to change unhealthy lifestyle. Understanding people's perception for CVD may improve the prognosis among elderly. This study examined the actual risk and perceived risk for CVD among elderly in a rural population of Malaysia.Design and Method:
This community-based study was conducted among several rural communities in the district of Raub, Pahang, Malaysia in 2010–2011. Actual risk was calculated based on ‘Framingham Heart Study’ online calculator while perceived risk for CVD was determined using a set of modified Risk and Health Behaviours Questionnaire. The respondents were asked on how they perceive their risk of getting CVD in the next 10 years.Results:
A total of 600 respondents completed the questionnaire in this study, 45% (n = 270) were aged elderly. The respondents had a mean age of 59.5 ± 10.7 years. According to the ‘Framingham Heart Study’ online calculator, 70.2% of elderly respondents were at high risk, 21.3% were at moderate risk and 8.4% were at low risk for future cardiovascular events. Further, high risk respondents had significantly lowest cardiovascular risk perception score compared to moderate and low risk respondents (p < 0.05).Conclusions:
Respondents aged ≥ 60 years old with high risk for future cardiovascular events underestimate their risk for CVD. There is a mismatch between actual and perceived risk among respondents in this study.