Poster Presentation Australian Diabetes Society and the Australian Diabetes Educators Association Annual Scientific Meeting 2014

Knowledge of signs and symptoms of coronary heart disease among University students in United Arab Emirates (#218)

Nelofer Khan 1 , Shehnaz Ilyas 1 , Soofia Ahmad 1 , K.G Gomathi 1 , Salwa Abdel Zaher 1
  1. Gulf Medical University, Ajman, United Arab Emirates

Aim: Coronary heart disease (CHD) is the leading cause of premature death. Many people do not recognize early signs of a heart attack thereby delaying medical evaluation and increasing the risk of heart damage. The aim of this study was to assess knowledge regarding the signs and symptoms of CHD.
Methods: Cross-sectional survey using a validated questionnaire with closed-ended statements was carried out on 338 students enrolled in non-health care related programs in Universities in United Arab Emirates (UAE). Data analyzed using SPSS version 21.
Results: Mean age of the participating students was 20±1.9 years with 58% females. Many students knew the definition of CHD (59%) and were aware that survivors of heart attack are at higher risk of recurrences and mortality (61.1%). Students identified that ordinary physical activity causing chest pain (78%), difficulty in breathing (69.4%), rapid heartbeat (57.4%) and excessive tiredness (43.6%) are warning signs indicating high susceptibility of getting heart attack. Regarding the signs of a heart attack, they identified pain/discomfort in the chest (75.7%), left shoulder (45.4%), neck or back (33.8%) and jaw (25.5%); Shortness of breath (66%), feeling light headed/faint (53.4%), breaking out in cold sweat (45.4%), nausea and gastric discomfort (26%) was also identified.
Conclusion: While many university students are aware of chest pain as a sign of heart attack, very few are aware of other clinical signs and symptoms. More programs are needed to increase awareness among young adults since CHD is increasing in the younger age groups especially in the developing world.