About My Health Careers Internship MedBlogs Contact us

South Asian-Americans at Higher Risk for Heart Disease, Stroke: Study

by Hannah Joy on May 25, 2018 at 4:26 PM
Font : A-A+

South Asian-Americans at Higher Risk for Heart Disease, Stroke: Study

South Asian-Americans were found to be more likely at risk of developing heart disease and stroke when compared to East Asians or non-Hispanic whites in the U.S.

Clinical experts at Rush University Medical Center reported this finding in a new scientific statement they co-authored that is being published in the American Heart Association journal Circulation.


Atherosclerosis is a disease in which the arteries become narrowed and hardened due to a build-up of plaque inside of the artery wall. As a result, the flow of blood through the arteries is reduced and can become blocked, resulting in a heart attack, or a stroke if the blockage is in cerebral artery.

The statement provides an overview of the behaviors that influence the risk factors for heart disease and stroke among South Asian-Americans based on a review of existing scientific research.

More than 3.4 million people who identify themselves as South Asians live in the U.S. About 80 percent of them are immigrants from India or of Indian ancestry, with others tracing their origins to Bangladesh, Bhutan, the Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.

Grouping all Asians together produces deceiving health data. "Statistics about heart disease and stroke risk among Asians can be deceiving when all people of Asian ethnicity are combined into one group," said cardiologist Dr. Annabelle Volgman, chair of the American Heart Association's statement writing group and medical director of the Rush Heart Center for Women at Rush University Medical Center.

"Overall, Asians are at a lower risk for heart disease and stroke compared to people of European ancestry. But when you look at South Asians, their risk for heart disease and stroke is higher than people from East Asia and people of European ancestry," said Volgman.

Compared to people of European ancestry, South Asian-Americans have the following increased heart health risks a greater risk of having severe atherosclerosis; more likelihood that multiple segments of their arteries are narrowed by atherosclerosis; higher levels of artery clogging LDL cholesterol and triglycerides and lower levels of HDL (good) cholesterol, which predispose the arteries to develop fatty deposits in artery walls that cause them to narrow; a higher level of calcium deposits, a marker for atherosclerosis, if they are of Indian ancestry and over age 60; more risk of diabetes, which is believed to accelerate atherosclerosis developing diabetes at a younger age.

Poor diet habits, lack of exercise contribute to higher risk for South Asians. The statement also focuses on behavioral factors that may increase the risk of developing atherosclerosis among South Asian-Americans and suggests ways that they can be changed to improve health.

"Diet is a key factor. Many South Asians, even if they are vegetarians, eat a lot of saturated fats from tropical oils such as palm and coconut oil and refined carbohydrates such as sugar, white bread and highly processed foods," Volgman said.

Ongoing studies are evaluating efforts to improve diet quality among South Asians by reintroducing traditional whole grains, which were once a mainstay of the diet in the South Asia region, in addition to suggesting replacing ghee (butter with all the water removed) with monounsaturated oils, such as olive, corn or other oils.

South Asian-Americans also engage in less physical activity than other minority group members, according to the statement. A recent study found that only 49 percent of South Asian-Americans believed that exercise was important in preventing heart disease.

"As health care providers, we need to do a better job of helping our South Asian patients understand the importance of exercise, because many don't realize how important it is to their health," said Volgman. The authors cite studies that suggest that community programs that encourage South Asians to exercise and reduce stress through yoga, Bollywood dancing or other culturally specific physical activities are likely to be more successful than other forms of physical activity.

South Asians represent one of the fastest growing ethnic groups in the U.S. The statement concludes with a call to action to include more participation by South Asians in research studies to better understand how to reduce their risk for heart disease and stroke.

Source: Eurekalert

News A-Z
News Category
What's New on Medindia
Coffee May Help You Fight Endometrial Cancer
Fermented Skin Care
Television Binge-Watching May Boost the Risk of Deadly Blood Clots
View all

Medindia Newsletters Subscribe to our Free Newsletters!
Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy.

More News on:
Heart Healthy Heart Statins Mitral Valve Prolapse Aortic Valve Stenosis Pericarditis 

Recommended Reading
Atherosclerosis is a condition in which the arteries become hard and narrow, leading to restricted ....
Coronary Heart Disease
In coronary heart disease, blood is unable to flow through blocked arteries. The main symptom is ......
Stroke can cause permanent disability and it is important to recognize its early warning signs to .....
Tame your Salt Intake Smartly
Salt is essential for the proper functioning of body but most of us generally exceed the intake of ....
Aortic Valve Stenosis
Aortic valve Stenosis is an abnormal narrowing of the c valve. Symptoms include angina, and that of ...
Mitral Valve Prolapse
Mitral Valve Prolapse is a relatively common condition and causes leakage of blood through the valve...
Pericarditis occurs when the pericardium gets inflamed. Pericarditis is characterized by severe ches...
Statins are new wonder drugs that are proving to be efficacious, not merely in relieving symptoms bu...

Disclaimer - All information and content on this site are for information and educational purposes only. The information should not be used for either diagnosis or treatment or both for any health related problem or disease. Always seek the advice of a qualified physician for medical diagnosis and treatment. Full Disclaimer

© All Rights Reserved 1997 - 2022

This site uses cookies to deliver our services. By using our site, you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Cookie Policy, Privacy Policy, and our Terms of Use
open close
I have read and I do accept terms of use - Telemedicine

Advantage Medindia: FREE subscription for 'Personalised Health & Wellness website with consultation' (Value Rs.300/-)