The Harsh Reality of Heart Disease in Indian Males
Read More Articles about Health and Heart
Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, May 15, 2017
Jovan Jande, University of Michigan
My father had a near fatal heart attack at the age of 47 that resulted in a quadruple bypass. My father had open heart surgery before he was 50. My father was not overweight, he was not unhealthy, he presented no serious risk factors. He worked out regularly and ate healthy. But there was one factor that everyone overlooked, the fact that he is Indian.
Heart disease is one of the leading causes of death in the world according to the World Health Organization and it is the leading cause of death in India. It is so prevalent in India that the amount of deaths that result from heart disease is double the deaths that result from the next largest contributor, lung disease. Yet despite the seriousness of the issue, it is rarely discussed in Indian communities and it is even rarer to see any action taken to decrease the prevalence of it. Whether Indian males believe that it is not as large an issue as it is, or the perceive themselves as not being at risk for some reason or another, a discussion needs to take place.
Heart disease is an issue that is affecting people in every indian community and this is a fact. In a study done in Singapore, Asian Indian, Chinese and Malay males were all examined for susceptibility to heart disease. The results concluded that Indian males had the highest susceptibility to heart disease of the three groups. This means that after looking at a number of risk factors and almost 25,000 males, Asian Indian males had the highest chance of having heart disease. In another study done in almost 1000 Indian males, the normal risk factors for heart disease, hypertension, physical inactivity, diabetes and obesity were all found to be extremely high across the board. As a result, Indian males are at a higher risk of heart disease than other populations.
These two studies are not the only evidence for the claim that Indian males are at a higher risk of heart disease, but they do demonstrate this point quite clearly. Indian males are at a higher risk of heart disease and the Indian community needs to discuss this issue openly. Lives are being lost because the Indian community is afraid to point out this very serious issue affecting many, many people.
My father had a heart attack and open heart surgery before he was 50. I almost lost my dad before I was even an adult. The risk of heart disease in Indian males is real and it is much greater than other populations. Studies have shown that something needs to be done and it begins with our communities. Have a discussion with the people around you so that our community can begin to tackle an issue that is tearing the community apart, one person at a time.
Jeannette Lee, Derrick Heng, Kee Seng Chia, Suok Kai Chew, Bee Yian Tan, Kenneth Hughes;
Risk factors and incident coronary heart disease in Chinese, Malay and Asian Indian males: the Singapore Cardiovascular Cohort Study. Int J Epidemiol 2001; 30 (5): 983-988. doi: 10.1093/ije/30.5.983