South Asian Cardio-Metabolic Program

Cardio-Metabolic Disorders in South Asians

South Asians are at an increased risk of cardio-metabolic disorders such as heart disease, diabetes, stroke, and kidney diseases.

Facts about Cardio-Metabolic Disorders in South Asians

  • South Asians have the highest hospitalization rate for coronary artery disease, four times higher than any other ethnic population.
  • South Asians are at higher risk for Type 2 diabetes, up to 6 times more likely to have type 2 diabetes than the general population.
  • In South Asians, diabetes and insulin resistance affects up to 20% of the population.
  • 25% of heart attacks occur under age 40, and 50% occur under age 50.
  • On average, South Asians develop coronary artery disease up to 10 years earlier than the general population.
  • There is a 40% higher chance of death from heart attacks among South Asians than the average population.
  • Stroke related deaths for South Asians are 55% higher.
  • South Asians have a high prevalence of Chronic Kidney Diseases (CKD) and a faster progression of CKD as compared to other ethnic groups.
  • According to the World Health Organization (WHO) report, by 2020, South Asians comprise 25% of the world’s population but will suffer over 50% of the world’s cardiovascular deaths.

About Our Program

  • Screening for cardio-metabolic disorders through various advanced blood tests and heart calcium scan
  • Prevention
  • Early detection by close surveillance
  • Risk stratification
  • Lifestyle counseling
  • Management in a culturally sensitive manner
  • Research opportunity (with access to novel biomarkers and genomic testing)
Who Can Benefit?

We care for all. This dedicated program provides care to patients of South Asian origin (India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Maldives, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Afghanistan) who have or are at risk for heart disease. Our range of services includes evaluation and treatment of patients:

  • Who have risk factors for heart disease such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, overweight.
  • Who have family history of heart disease (heart attack, stroke, diabetes).
  • Who are being treated for various heart conditions.
  • Who develop cardiovascular symptoms such as chest pain or tightness, shortness of breath, leg swelling, irregular heartbeats (palpitations), lightheadedness or dizziness.
What Makes This Program Unique?

The American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association (ACC/AHA) Cholesterol and Primary Prevention Guidelines included South Asian ethnicity among their “risk-enhancing” factors. However, the current risk calculators widely used in clinical practice often underestimate risk in this population, particularly for those at borderline or intermediate risk.

The approach needs to be individualized as significant differences are noted in the incidence of heart disease, diabetes, stroke and kidney disease development based on ethnic groups, lifestyle, and individual risk factors. However, often, patients are provided risk assessment and treatment plans that do not account for an individual’s background and personalized needs.

For example, measuring low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol levels, usually considered a gold standard for future risk assessment, may not be adequate for this population. Often, individuals of South Asian origin suffer a heart attack, or stroke, even with “normal” LDL. However, more in-dept testing with lipoprotein(a) level and other blood markers as well as coronary artery calcium scan can accurately assess the risk in this population.

There are also differing “normal values” of HbA1c (average blood sugar level) and eGFR (a marker of kidney function) for this population which are often not accounted for and require additional testing for precise risk assessment and management.

Through this dedicated program, we aim to provide comprehensive and individualized risk assessment and tailored screening, surveillance, prevention and management plans.

Our Multidisciplinary Approach

The South Asian Cardio-Metabolic Program brings together specialists and clinical researchers from different specialties who work together to provide the best care possible.

Our multidisciplinary team includes experts in:

  • Cardiology
    • Cardiac Imaging
    • Electrophysiology
    • Interventional Cardiology
    • Heart Failure
  • Endocrinology and Diabetes
  • Neurology
  • Nephrology
  • Cardiothoracic Surgery
  • Research

Individuals of South Asian ancestry represent 23% of the global population—corresponding to 1.8 billion people—and are disproportionately afflicted by cardiometabolic diseases, primarily heart attacks, strokes, and diabetes.

Although we know that South Asians are at a significantly higher risk of developing cardiometabolic disorders and at higher risk of having adverse outcomes, our understanding is limited and is evolving given the lack of data on South Asians.

Historically, a vast majority of cardiovascular and metabolic disorder research has not included high numbers of South Asians, and findings are often extrapolated. There is an unmet need, and this dedicated program provides a unique opportunity to study the cardio-metabolic disorders in the South Asian population.

We aim to generate high-quality scientific evidence with patient partnership and participation.

Meet Our Team

Accepting New Patients

The South Asian Cardio-Metabolic Program is accepting patients. Please contact us for further information and/or to schedule an appointment.

For BILH Providers, EPIC order: Ambulatory Referral to South Asian Cardio-Metabolic Program [Order Type: Referral, Preference list: Amb Facility Referrals and Px Code: REF]