HomeBangladeshi AmericanStudy Reveals South Asian Americans Have High Risk of Heart Disease

Study Reveals South Asian Americans Have High Risk of Heart Disease

Interior of the heart
Interior of the heart.
By Nephron via Wikimedia Creative Commons

A recent medical study finds a high risk of heart disease among South Asians living in the U.S due to genetics, reports NBC News. The study also highlights the importance of living a healthier lifestyle.

Anabelle Santos Volgman, the lead author of the report and medical director of the Rush Heart Center for Woman at the Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, said that several factors had contributed to the increased risk of heart disease, including the fact that the South Asians are prone to bad cholesterol and diabetes.

“We don’t have an answer to why South Asians have a higher risk of diabetes, but there are many genetic theories that have not been substantiated,” she said, adding that the study published by the medical Journal Circulation of the American Heart Association was made to investigate the risk factors of heart disease.

South Asians in the states come from many countries including Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, Pakistan, the Maldives and Sri Lanka. The study found they have a higher death and hospitalization rate due to heart disease than others in the U.S.

According to Jwatch.com, the Associate Editor of NEJM Journal Watch Cardiology, Karol E. Watson, reviewed the study and said that dietary factors may contribute to the increased risk as many South Asians consume a high percentage of carbohydrates and saturated fats.

The study provides recommendations for South Asians to eat traditional whole grains and to have more physical exercise to decrease the level of cholesterol, blood pressure and the risk of early diabetes.

“The lifestyle changes can make a big impact,” said Volgman. “What we need to emphasize is that they need to take heart disease seriously and seek help to determine if they are at high risk.”

South Asians immigrated to the United States in three waves beginning in the late 18th century. The first wave occurred from the 1890’s to the 1920’s. The second wave started after the establishment of the 1965 Immigration and Nationality Act sending a total of 20,000 skilled professionals and 25,000 physicians to the states.

A third wave of immigration in the mid 1980’s included extended family members and parents of thousands of professionals and physicians.

Data from the U.S Census Bureau shows that most of the South Asians in the states are originally from India followed by Bhutan and Nepal. Many reside in urban metropolitan areas in  California, New York, New Jersey, Texas, and Illinois.

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