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Introduction: Dyspepsia is a common gastrointestinal diseases worldwide with a prevalence ranging from 7 to 40%. Dyspepsia, more commonly known as heartburn or indigestion, is defined as one or more of the following symptoms: postprandial fullness, early satiation (the inability to finish a normal size meal), or epigastric pain or burning for at least 3 months in the past year. Dyspepsia has been studied extensively, but little is known of factors associated with dyspepsia among medical students.
Objectives: The purpose of this study was to analyze the prevalence of dyspepsia and to evaluate the association between lifestyle and dietary factors associated with dyspepsia among pre-clinical medical students in Ajman, United Arab Emirates.
Methods: A cross-sectional survey study was conducted among pre-clinical medical students at Gulf Medical University, Ajman and collected basic demographic data, dyspepsia prevalence, dietary factors, and lifestyle factors. Data was analyzed using Microsoft Excel and SPSS software. Descriptive statistics were used to summarize the participant characteristics. Chi-square tests were used to test the association between dietary and lifestyle factors and dyspepsia. Logistic regression was used to measure the association of predictors (dietary and lifestyle factors) on the odds of having dyspepsia, independently. Multinomial logistic regression was used to examine the full association of predictors on the odds of having dyspepsia.
Results: The resulting sample was 176 pre-clinical medical students, with a mean age of 20.67 ± 2.57 years. A total of 77 (43.8%) respondents reported having dyspepsia while 99 (56.2%) did not. There was a significant association between smoking and dyspepsia (p<0.05), as well as a marginally significant association between inadequate sleep and dyspepsia (p<0.10). There was no significant association with alcohol or analgesic use on dyspesia. Dietary habits showed no association with dyspepsia.
Conclusion: Dyspepsia was reported by 43.8% of the repondents. These findings emphasize the importance of improving lifestyle and dietary factors associated with dyspepsia and raising awareness of reducing risk factors associated with dyspepsia. Further studies are needed on dyspepsia in a larger cohort of students in order to fully understand the complexity of this problem and be able to generalize the findings to other cohorts.
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