2001 Volume 47 Issue 3 Pages 323-326
Substantial evidence indicates that mental stress has adverse effects on serum lipid levels and cardiovascular health. This study examined the effects of final medical degree examinations (mental stress) on serum lipid and lipoprotein cardiovascular risk factors in African medical students. Twenty-seven healthy male and female medical students had lipids, lipoproteins, urea and uric acid assessments before and during final year examination. The results showed that black African medical students had adverse lipoprotein changes characterized by reduction in the levels of high density lipoprotein-cholesterol (HDLC) and HDLC/total cholesterol (TC) ratio [coronary heart disease (CHD) risk predictor index] during examinations, while mean urea level decreased from the baseline. These findings provide an opportunity for better planning of the nutritional requirements (vis-à-vis increase in protein intake) for medical students during examinations. They will also guide academic curriculum planners on how to work out strategies to reduce mental stress and its associated metabolic disturbances among the students during examinatinos, throughout the period of their medical training. In all, these findings will add to our knowledge of the numerous factors that may affect lipid and lipoprotein changes in African subjects.