Prevalence and Health Adverse Effects of Khat Chewing Among College Students in Jazan Region, KSA
Khat chewing is a social habit which has stimulant action due to its cathinone content, however its adverse effects on health are a source of growing concern. The aim of our study is to evaluate the prevalence and health adverse effect of chewing among students in Jazan region in Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA). One hundred and ninety-five students were included in this study. The students were randomly selected and were asked through questionnaire and a signed consent. About 5 ml of venous blood were collected from Sixty khat chewers and twenty non khat chewers persons as normal control in plain vacutainer tubes. Serum was used to determine alanine aminotransferase (ALT), alkaline phosphatase (ALP), total & direct bilirubin, total protein, urea, creatinine, uric acid, total protein and albumin. A total of 195 students from Applied Medical Science College participated in the study, 134 males and 61 females, with age range (19-27), and mean age was 21.1 year. 40% of students were from urban area, and 81.5% of them from Jazan region. Out of 195 students, only 38 (19.5%) were found to chew khat. Biochemical results revealed a highly significant differences among chewers in ALT, ALP, Uric Acid, and Urea (P<0.005) compared to non-chewers group. There is also a significant difference in the total protein level (<0.05), while no significant differences were noticed in other biochemical analysis performed. We concluded that the prevalence of Khat chewing among students is slightly high (19.5 %), and the adverse effects of khat chewing on health is very clear, so all efforts should be contributed to solve this problem by increasing awareness of all members of the society to khat chewing risk.