Aung TH, Go YY, Low LP, Chua T
Correspondence: A/Prof Terrance Siang Jin Chua, firstname.lastname@example.org
Introduction Hyperlipidaemia is a major risk factor for coronary artery disease (CAD). Its effective treatment has been shown to reduce the incidence of cardiovascular events, both in secondary and primary prevention. An essential component of risk factor management at the community level is public awareness and knowledge of treatment benefits. However, this data is limited in Singapore.
Methods A cross-sectional survey questionnaire of public perception and knowledge on cholesterol treatment among adult Singaporeans aged 30–69 years was commissioned by the Singapore Heart Foundation and conducted by a professional market survey company. Regional quota sampling was performed to ensure that the sample was representative of the Singapore population. This was followed by random sampling of households and respondents.
Results Of the 365 respondents, 40.9% were male, 70.3% were Chinese, 18.8% Malay and 10.9% Indian. The mean age was 47.5 years. Although 81.9% of respondents had medical check-ups involving blood tests, only 11.0% knew their actual cholesterol levels. A third of the respondents saw herbal medicine as healthier and safer than Western medication. More than 80% of respondents believed that diet and exercise were equally effective at lowering cholesterol as medication. About half of the respondents associated long-term use of statins with damage to the liver and kidney, while a third associated chronic statin use with the development of cancer.
Conclusion There are gaps in the level of public awareness and understanding of cholesterol treatment in Singapore. Common misconceptions should be addressed, as they could potentially impair effective management or treatment compliance.
Keywords: cholesterol, health knowledge, health surveys, hyperlipidaemia
Singapore Med J 2013; 54:32-35; http://dx.doi.org/10.11622/smedj.2013008
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