Metabolic syndrome and cardiovascular disease in South Asians
Danny Eapen1, Girish L Kalra1, Nadya Merchant1, Anjali Arora2, Bobby V Khan1
1Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta, GA, USA; 2Sri Ganga Ram Hospital, New Delhi, India
Abstract: This review discusses the prevalence of metabolic syndrome and cardiovascular disease in the South Asian population, evaluates conventional and emerging risk factors, and reinforces the need for ethnic-specific redefinition of guidelines used to diagnose metabolic syndrome. We reviewed recent and past literature using Ovid Medline and PubMed databases. South Asians represent one of the largest and fastest growing ethnic groups in the world. With this growth, a dramatic rise in the rates of acute myocardial infarction and diabetes is being seen in this population. Potential etiologies for this phenomenon include dietary westernization, poor lifestyle measures, adverse body fat patterning, and genetics. While traditional risk factors for diabetes and cardiovascular disease should not be overlooked, early metabolic syndrome has now been shown in the South Asian pediatric population, suggesting that “metabolic programming” and perinatal influences may likely play a substantial role. Health care practitioners must be aware that current guidelines used to identify individuals with metabolic syndrome are underestimating South Asian individuals at risk. New ethnic-specific guidelines and prevention strategies are discussed in this review and should be applied by clinicians to their South Asian patients.
Keywords: metabolic syndrome, cardiovascular disease, CVD, heart disease, South Asians
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