Examination of serum cholesterol level and sociodemographic variables
Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in the U.S. and Utah for both genders, and all racial and ethnic groups. Although many risk factors exist for
cardiovascular disease, elevated total serum cholesterol levels are a major modifiable risk factor. Low income populations who have little access to health care face continual challenges in the form of environmental, social, and psychological barriers.
Consequently, they are increasingly susceptible to the development of unmonitored high serum cholesterol levels and the subsequent risk of cardiovascular disease.
The purpose of this study was to explore and examine the relationship between cholesterol level and socio-demographic variables, in order to work towards better
prevention and screening in this population. Data was collected from the Maliheh Free Clinic located in Salt Lake City, Utah that offers health care to an underserved population who do not qualify for Medicaid or Medicare. A total of 226 patient charts were reviewed
to collect data on patient characteristics and socioeconomic variables. Descriptive statistics such as chi square, T-tests, and ANOVA were performed to analyze the data.
Total serum cholesterol among patients increased with age (p=.05). Mean total serum cholesterol decreased as income level increased among our sample. A higher percentage of patients in unemployed (14.0%) or unknown income (15.9%) categories were at highrisk
(>= 240 mg/dL) compared to patients who had some monthly income. A higher percentage of male patients were found to be in the high risk category for total serum
cholesterol level compared to female patients (13.6% vs. 11.8%).
These findings allow a better understanding of the particular risks associated with serum cholesterol levels in this population. This information can be used to provide better preventative care, screening, and health education workshops to prevent cardiovascular
disease in a culturally appropriate manner that meets the specific needs of this low-income population.
University of Utah
University of Utah
Honors Bachelor of Science
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