Estimation of health literacy levels in patients with cardiovascular diseases in a Gulf country: BMC Health Services Research

S.C. Nair, J. Sreedharan, K. Vijayan, H. Ibrahim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction: Cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) are the leading cause of mortality worldwide. In the United Arab Emirates (UAE), the prevalence of deaths associated with CVD is higher than the global average, and the incidence of premature coronary heart disease is 10–15 years earlier than in Western nations. In patients with CVD, inadequate health literacy (HL) is significantly associated with poor health outcomes. The goal of this study is to assess HL levels among patients with CVD in the UAE to develop effective health system strategies for disease prevention and management. Methods: A nationwide cross-sectional survey to assess HL levels in patients with CVD was conducted between January 2019 and May 2020 in the UAE. The association between health literacy level with patient age, gender, nationality, and education was determined using the Chi-Square test. The significant variables were further analyzed by ordinal regression. Results: Of 336 participants (86.5% response rate), approximately half 51.5% (173/336) of the respondents were women, and 46% (146/336) of them attained high school level of education. More than 75% (268/336) of the participants were above the age of 50 years. Overall, 39.3% (132/336) of respondents possessed inadequate HL, and 46.4% (156/336) and 14.3% (48/336) demonstrated marginal and adequate HL, respectively. Inadequate health literacy was more prevalent among women, as compared to men. Age was significantly associated with HL levels. Participants under age 50 had higher adequate HL levels 45.6% (31/68), (95% CI (3.8–57.4), P < 0.001). There was no correlation between education and health literacy levels. Conclusion: The inadequate HL levels found in outpatients with CVD is a major health concern in the UAE. To improve population health outcomes, health system interventions, including targeted educational and behavioral programs for the older population are necessary. © 2023, The Author(s).
Original languageBritish English
JournalBMC Health Serv. Res.
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2023


  • Cardiovascular diseases
  • Coronary
  • Health literacy
  • Middle East
  • United Arab Emirates
  • Vascular
  • Cardiovascular Diseases
  • Coronary Artery Disease
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Educational Status
  • Female
  • Health Literacy
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Outpatients
  • cardiovascular disease
  • coronary artery disease
  • cross-sectional study
  • educational status
  • female
  • health literacy
  • human
  • male
  • middle aged
  • outpatient


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