People who trace their ancestry to the Indian subcontinent countries of India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, and Nepal, are at increased risk for coronary artery disease (CAD) and diabetes mellitus (DM). Both chronic diseases affect this population disproportionately. South Asians have heart attacks at much younger ages, despite being mostly vegetarian, non smoking and non-obese.
The Statistics are Staggering
Heart Disease Risk
Heart attacks occur before age 55
The Perfect Storm
Family history, disorders of lifestyle and the urban environment create a perfect storm for the epidemics to flourish. India is becoming the heart disease and diabetes capital of the world.
Traditional guidelines underestimate risk
Why do so many young South Asians show up in the emergency room with a heart attack despite being mostly non-obese, nonsmoking and vegetarian, and having "normal" lipid panels?
This is because traditional markers, just like the tip of the iceberg, reveal only part of the story. Elevated LDL cholesterol for instance, explains just 25% of premature coronary artery disease. The real danger, or risk of heart attacks and diabetes, lies beneath the surface.
Several risk factors and biomarkers that are more effective at detecting disease (better predict risk) are hidden in traditional assessments. They can only be revealed by advanced screening protocols, such as those incorporated in South Asian Heart Center's comprehensive AIM to Prevent program.
Traditional Risk Factors
The quality of the LDL and HDL particles (size, number of particles) is a better indicator of the tendency for plaque deposition, compared to the traditional cholesterol markers.
Lipoprotein(a), "the deadly cholesterol", increases plaque formation, rupture, and coagulation, and multiplies the risk of heart attack, in the presence of other risk factors. Lp(a) is inherited.
Inflammation, or swelling in the arterial walls, can accelerate plaque buildup and rupture. Often not included in regular testing, this risk is often undetected until a heart attack.
South Asians have an increased prevalence of metabolic abnormalities such as insulin resistance, metabolic syndrome and diabetes at younger ages.
Coronary calcification goes beyond just assessing risk. It provides a definitive diagnosis of CAD, which can then be addressed and managed well before physical symptoms appear.
The most significant, yet most changeable and controllable factors of the iceberg are those pertaining to lifestyle. Lifestyle assessment, intervention, and management is shown to prevent 80% of heart attacks.
CT Calcium Score
Diabetes and Dysmetabolism
Obesity: BMI/Waist Circumference
Non-HDL / Apo B
Family History of CAD
Family History of Diabetes
Rest while Asleep
Rest while Awake
AIM to Prevent program
The South Asian Heart Center's AIM to Prevent is a culturally tailored, lifestyle-focused, evidence-based, three phase risk reduction program. In the first phase, ASSESS, we use advanced screening methods to uncover hidden risk factors for heart disease and diabetes. In the next phase, INTERVENE, we develop a personalized, therapeutic lifestyle plan to reduce risk. In the third phase MANAGE, heart health coaches motivate participants to make and maintain the recommended lifestyle changes. AIM to Prevent is a program for life and it works.
Screen for hidden risks
using advanced technology
HRA - Personal & family health risk assessment
LAB - Fasting blood test
EXM - Brief physical and biometrics
CAS - Coronary calcification CT scan
RAR - Results & recommendations consultation
Counsel you with expert advice
on Lifestyle MEDS
Meditate - daily practice of restful alertness
Exercise - regular, vigorous, varied
Diet - more greens than grains
Sleep - restful 7-8 hours daily
Monitor and motivate
you to stay on track, for life
AIM to Prevent really works for the simple reason that the Center’s counselors start the plan from your current behavioral state and help you improve your lifestyle over time. All other programs I tried in the past 15 years had a set plan for all participants, which was not very optimal.
Eighteen years after my heart transplant, I learned through the South Asian Heart Center, that I needed to improve on several risk factors. My coach gave me a fitness program, heart healthy diet and meditation routine. I encourage all South Asians to take advantage of this nonprofit.
Manmohan S. Mahal
San Jose, California
Both my parents died early of heart attacks. No one should prematurely lose a parent, child or sibling. I decided to learn more. A comprehensive screening at the Center exposed my hidden risks and when I followed the diet and physical activity recommendations, I saw positive changes in my test results.
After I had a cardiac event, the Center’s lifestyle counselors and coaches provided priceless guidance on diet, exercise, and meditation. I now maintain a very balanced lifestyle and have been able to control my cholesterol, weight, and blood pressure.
The Center inspired me to start making healthier nutritional choices that are now a part of the entire family’s diet. We have also increased our levels of physical activity, and I look forward to brisk walks with my dog and to my zumba classes.
San Jose, California
While I can’t change my DNA, the Center has driven home the fact that I can significantly reduce my risk by actively managing my lifestyle - healthy eating, regular exercise and stress management. I have put their counsel into practice and my family and I enjoy the benefits.