Higher Rates of Cardiovascular Disease Among South Asian Immigrants Might Be Linked to Dysfunctional Cholesterol, Lifestyle, Researchers Say
Researchers at the Medical College of Georgia suspect South Asian immigrants' higher risk of cardiovascular disease is linked to lifestyle changes they undergo in the U.S. and a possible deficiency in the protective qualities of HDL, or good cholesterol, ANI/Daily India reports. Research shows that 9% of whites develop coronary artery disease, compared with between 18% and 25% of South Asian immigrants, according to Sunita Dodani, an epidemiologist and cardiologist at the medical college. She said that South Asians who remain in their homelands have normal rates of heart disease. Dodani and colleagues from the Medical College of Georgia and the University of California-Los Angeles have been studying 29 South Asian immigrants in Augusta, Ga. They found that 40% of participants had arterial thickness, 17% had high blood pressure and more than 30% had high cholesterol. Half of the participants also had dysfunctional HDL. DNA analysis of participants found six different mutations of the gene "that is responsible for coding the major protein component of HDL," ANI/Daily India reports. Dodani said she believes that the dysfunctional HDL is likely caused by the mutation of that particular gene (ANI/Daily India, 2/2). She added, "HDL can only protect people from heart disease if it's functional. The dysfunctional HDL and external risk factors like stress from moving and new jobs and high-fat diets make for a deadly combination" (United Press International, 2/1). Dodani said she plans to expand the study to include more participants (ANI/Daily India, 2/2).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.