Heart disease has emerged as the number one killer among Indians, according to a recent study by the Registrar General of India ( RGI) and the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR). About 25 per cent of deaths in the age group of 25- 69 years occur because of heart diseases. If all age groups are included, heart diseases account for about 19 per cent of all deaths. It is the leading cause of death among males as well as females and in all regions of India, the study found.
India, with more than 1.2 billion people, is estimated to account for 60 percent of heart disease patients worldwide. According to the World Health Organization, heart related disorders will kill almost 20 million people by 2015, and they are exceptionally prevalent in the Indian sub-continent. Half of all heart attacks in this population occur under the age of 50 years and 25 percent under the age of 40. It is estimated that India will have over 1.6 million strokes per year by 2015, resulting in disabilities on one third of them. The need is urgent.
It is in this context that the American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI) has launched educational "Networks" of renowned thought leaders in the areas of Cardiology, Diabetes, and Stroke to foster high quality medical education of physicians of Asian Indian origin in the US. These "Networks" of renowned physicians include thought leaders from Harvard, Mayo Clinic, and Cleveland Clinic. Within these "Networks," AAPI has recognized renowned physicians such as Dr. Deepak Bhatt, Dr. Samin Sharma, Dr. Sameer Mehta, Dr. Samir Kapadia, Dr. Om Ganda, Dr. Paresh Dandona, Dr. P.K. Shah, Dr. Sanjay Rajagopalan, Dr. Aneesh Singhal, Dr. Mandeep Mehra and many others, who are among the best in the field.
Dr. Jayesh Shah, president of AAPI, states Dr. Navin Nanda, a Distinguished Professor in the field, Chairs the committee on "Cardiovascular, Diabetes & Stroke" focus theme. In addition, the initiative's Scientific Advisors include Dr. Narendra Kumar, Past-President of AAPI, Dr. Joseph Chalil, and Dr. Kamini Trivedi.
Dr. Kamini Trivedi, Co-Chair of AAPI Lipid Network, a Scientific Advisor to the "Cardiovascular, Diabetes & Stroke" Focus and the Chair of the AAPI Industry Physicians Committee, states, "AAPI has launched educational networks of renowned thought leaders in the areas of Cardiology, Diabetes, and Stroke to foster education of AAPI physicians in these important areas which heavily impact the Asian Indian community and the US as a whole. These networks will educate AAPI leadership and member physicians on cutting edge disease topics and cutting edge intervention. Through these networks, AAPI is excited to showcase the full heights that Asian Indian physicians have reached, elevate educational quality, stimulate the AAPI general physician members, bring further recognition to these renowned physicians, and inspire our young physicians-in-training."
"Coronary artery disease has reached epidemic proportions. Although there is some level of awareness regarding smoking, dietary habits and diabetes, somehow there is no massive intervention on a national level either by the government or by the physicians," says Dr. Nishit Choksi, a Michigan cardiologist.
"AAPI hopes to achieve high quality educational programming in the US with this new focus theme and its Networks," says Dr. Joseph Chalil, Scientific Advisor of the Program and a Senior Associate Director at Boehringer Ingelheim. Accordingly, "Networks" dedicated to each of these important areas have been created and are listed on AAPI's website: http://www.aapiusa.org/education/edu-specialties.aspx.
Although Asian Indians are the highest socioeconomic group in the US, and one of the best educated, a recent study by Kaiser found that the hospitalization rate for heart disease among Indian patients was four times that of non-Indian patients. According to Dr Enas et al, serious forms of coronary heart disease, especially left main coronary artery disease and three vessel disease are relatively more common among Asian Indians. Coronary artery disease (CAD) tends to occur earlier in life and in a higher percentage of the population in Asian Indians than in other ethnic groups. Asian Indians typically develop a heart attack 10 years earlier than other populations.
Dyslipidemia and the atherogenic triad of low HDL-C, high triglycerides, and high levels of small dense LDL particles is very prevalent among Asian Indians. Among Indians living in the U.S., Indian women have the highest CAD mortality, 30% higher than Whites and 325% higher than the Chinese. Prevalence rate of diabetes in Asian Indians living in the U.S. was found to be 17.4% in the DIA study by Misra et al. There was a high frequency of hypertriglyceridemia (42.3%), increased total cholesterol (43.5%), high LDL-C (41.4%, low HDL-C (26.4%), elevated C- reactive protein (65%), and homocysteine (40.5%).