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Cardiovascular disease risk factor knowledge assessment among medical students

Kanimozhi Sadasivam, Poornima K Nagarajan, Balaji Ramraj, Balaji Chinnasami, Karthick Nedunchezhian, Saravanan Aiyyavoo.

Background: Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the primary cause of disability and premature death throughout the world. Past decade has seen a rise in the awareness of heart disease and its risk factors in general population as a result of various health promotion policies. Whereas similar data among health-care providers, especially among medical students, who will play a key role in disease prevention and treatment are still lacking.

Aims and Objective: To assess the CVD risk factor knowledge among first-year medical students.

Materials and Methods: An exploratory cross-sectional survey was conducted among 154 medical students by distributing an anonymous pretested, self-administered, and structured questionnaire. The questionnaire contained 30 multiple choice questions and was prepared keeping in mind the key themes of identification of CVD and its risk factors.

Result: Major risk factors for heart disease as identified by students are dyslipidemia (96.8%), obesity (94.1%), high blood pressure (92.8%), smoking (84.4%), diabetes (82.4), age (81.8%), male gender (80.4%), lack of physical activity (73.9%), and family history (63.6%). However, only 12.5% correctly identified HDL to be the good cholesterol. On comparing the mean knowledge score for individual components, female participants scored better for epidemiology (3.01 ± 0.10 vs. 3.33 ± 0.11, p = 0.031) and lifestyle behavior (2.97 ± 0.11 vs. 3.60 ± 0.12, p = 0.0001). We could also derive statistically significant differences between students with smoking history (21.82 ± 0.26 vs. 18.75 ± 1.01, p = 0.001) and alcohol consumption (21.84 ± 0.26 vs. 18.91 ± 0.92, p = 0.001) compared with those without, in case of total knowledge score.

Conclusion: These results suggest that there are few areas of concern in our medical education that needs to be reformed. A sound knowledge of CVD is very essential for the medical students and to achieve this, change in the core medical curriculum starting from basic medical sciences is recommended.

Key words: CVS Disease; Knowledge; Medical Students; Medical Education

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