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South Asians at Risk for Early MI Due to Smoking, Diabetes

Average age of myocardial infarction nearly six years earlier in South Asia than in other countries

TUESDAY, Jan. 16 (HealthDay News) -- South Asians tend to have myocardial infarctions at a younger age than individuals in other countries largely because of lifestyle factors such as smoking and diabetes, researchers report in the Jan. 17 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Prashant Joshi, M.D., of the Government Medical College in Nagpur, India, and colleagues sought the reasons for early presentation of coronary heart disease shown previously in residents of the South Asian countries of India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Nepal. The risk factor profiles of 1,732 myocardial infarction patients and 2,204 controls from South Asian countries were compared to 10,728 myocardial infarctions cases and 12,431 controls from other countries.

The researchers found that the average age of myocardial infarction patients from South Asian countries was 53 years compared with 58.8 years for residents of other countries. South Asians had both a higher prevalence of coronary heart disease risk factors -- such as a history of smoking, hypertension and diabetes -- and a lower prevalence of protective factors including physical activity and intake of alcohol, fruits and vegetables.

"The younger age of first acute myocardial infarction among the South Asian cases in our study appears to be largely explained by the higher prevalence of risk factors in native South Asians," the authors write. "These data suggest that lifestyle changes implemented early in life have the potential to substantially reduce the risk of acute myocardial infarctions in South Asians."

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