Background: Cardiovascular diseases (CVD) are the leading cause of mortality worldwide as well as in Kuwait. People with diabetes have two to five times greater risk of developing CVD as compared with non-diabetic individuals. To date, little information exists on the prevalence and characteristics of cardiovascular risk factors in Kuwait. The objective of this survey was to address the growing burden of diabetes and related cardiovascular risk factors, and to estimate, for the first time, the prevalence of cardiovascular risk factors in the State of Kuwait. Methods: The study was carried out using the World Health Organization (WHO) STEPwise approach for surveillance of non-communicable disease risk factors. This study represents a national survey for Kuwaiti nationals aged between 20 and 65 years. All participants were involved in an interview for gathering sociodemographic information, underwent focused physical examination and donated a blood sample for the study-specific laboratory investigations. Results: A total of 1970 subjects, with a mean age of 48.9 ± 10.5, were screened. The prevalence of cardiovascular risk factors was as follows: diabetes 17.9%, dyslipidaemia 70.3%, hypertension 25.3% and obesity 48.2%. Over 62% had a sedentary lifestyle, and 17.8% were smokers. The prevalence of diabetes and dyslipidaemia increased with age and body mass index. Diabetes was also significantly associated with age above 40 years (OR = 10.5), family history of diabetes (OR = 2.79), hypertension (OR = 2.22), obesity (OR = 2.87) and lower literacy (OR = 4.23). Conclusions: This study found that advancing age (≥ 40 years), diabetes mellitus, obesity, positive family history of diabetes, hypertension and dyslipidaemia are significant risk factors for developing CVD in Kuwait as in other parts of the world. Understanding these factors allows for preventive measures to be taken for Kuwaiti population.
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