South Asians are at four times greater risk of heart disease

Indian consulate in Chicago organizes heart health awareness program focused on Indian American community

While heart disease is the number one global public health problem, South Asians are at a four-times greater risk of heart disease than their western counterparts, according to a leading Indian American heart specialist.

Heart attacks strike South Asian men and women at younger ages, and they have a greater chance of having a heart attack before 50 years of age, says Dr. Vemuri S Murthy, Chairman of the Board of Chicago Medical Society.

As a result, both morbidity and mortality are higher among them compared to any other ethnic group, and they tend to develop heart disease ten years earlier than other groups, he said during a presentation at the Indian Consulate in Chicago on Dec 15.

The presentation on ‘Global Heart Disease, Heart Attacks and Sudden Cardiac Arrests’ with a special focus on Indians and Indian diaspora in the USA was part of the Heart Health Awareness program at the consulate.

He spoke of the programs needed to improve the survival and outcomes during cardiac emergencies via. community awareness, prevention, early recognition, and timely intervention.

Read: ‘South Asians at four-times greater risk of heart disease’ (September 11, 2021)

Efforts to raise awareness of heart disease and promote healthy heart lifestyles is essential, said Dr. Murthy, who has developed an Indian American community-focused program in association with Dr. Srinivas Ramaka, an eminent cardiologist from Telangana, India.

Founder of the Chicago Medical Society Community Bystander CPR project “SMILE” (Saving More Illinois Lives through Education), Dr Murthy also gave a hands on demonstration of Community ‘Saving Lives’ Bystander Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) program.

An Adjunct Faculty in the Department of Emergency Medicine at The University of Illinois College of Medicine, Chicago, Illinois, Dr. Murthy”s current work involves cardiac arrest registries and cardiac health-promoting projects with Indo-US collaboration.

Inaugurating the program, Consul General Amit Kumar spoke on the importance of Indo-US healthcare partnerships to reduce morbidity and mortality due to heart disease and the major role of the Indian diaspora in strengthening these affiliations through jointly developed innovative projects.

As an example, he referred to the Heart Rescue India (HRI) project, recently implemented successfully with Indo-US collaboration, involving the University of Illinois College of Medicine and UI Health, Chicago, and Ramaiah Medical College in Bengaluru with a grant from Medtronic.

Danny K. Davis, a US House member from Illinois commended the significant role of the Indian American doctors in contributing to the general health and well-being of US communities.

Read: “Heart Health Awareness And Community Bystander CPR” Program Organized By Indian Consulate in Chicago (December 23, 2021)

In a virtual message, Indian American Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi congratulated the Indian Consulate and Dr. Murthy for organizing the program and their efforts to enhance outcomes after cardiac arrests among the communities.

Amit Kumar, Davis, Dr. Bharat Barai and Dr. Murthy released the community bystander CPR Informational brochure in three languages – English, Gujarati, and Spanish for the Indian and US communities. Brochures in other Indian languages will be available soon.

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