Study reveals why South Asians are more likely to get heart disease

Study reveals why South Asians are more likely to get heart diseaseStudy reveals why South Asians are more likely to get heart disease
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Carl Samson
20 days ago
A recent study has shed light on why South Asians face an increased risk for heart disease.
Key points:
  • South Asians suffer disproportionately from cardiovascular diseases worldwide.
  • The study, published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology in February, found that they possess fewer cells that repair and regenerate blood vessels as compared to white Europeans.
  • The findings lay the groundwork for potential interventions to combat heart disease more effectively among the population.
The details:
  • While South Asians make up 25% of the world’s population, they also account for more than 50% of all cardiovascular deaths. Compared to white Europeans, they develop cardiovascular disease about five to 10 years earlier.
  • The recent study, led by researchers at Unity Health Toronto and the University of Toronto, found that South Asians have fewer key cells necessary for blood vessel repair and regeneration than white Europeans.
  • The study included 60 South Asian and 60 white European adult patients with either heart disease or diabetes and at least one other cardiovascular risk factor. Through innovative testing, the researchers quantified the presence of certain vascular regenerative and reparative progenitor cells in blood samples.
  • Co-authors Subodh Verma and David Hess describe the findings as a crucial link in understanding the heightened cardiovascular risk among South Asians. Hess notes that the combination of higher susceptibility to blood vessel damage from conditions like diabetes and a diminished capacity for vascular repair creates a “perfect storm” that exacerbates the risk of heart disease.
  • Future research could explore whether these biological differences can help identify individuals at an earlier risk, enabling proactive treatment options. In the meantime, Verma stresses the importance of awareness of one’s risk factors, including family history, lifestyle habits (smoking, high stress and low physical activity) and existing conditions such as hypertension and diabetes.
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