Commentary - South Asians and risk of cardiovascular disease: Current insights and trends
Patients from the Indian subcontinent have a distinct cardiovascular risk profile with profound health consequences. South Asians tend to develop more severe coronary artery disease at a younger age, and may also suffer from earlier myocardial infarction and heart failure. The genesis of this risk is multi-factorial. One important culprit is increased insulin resistance, possibly due to recently identified genetic polymorphisms. Another possible explanation is subclinical inflammation and a prothrombotic environment, as evidenced by increased levels of homocysteine, plasminogen activator inhibitor-1, and fibrinogen. The lipid profile of South Asians may play a role, as this population is known to have elevated levels of lipoprotein (a), as well as lower levels of HDL. In addition, this HDL may be dysfunctional, as this population may have a higher prevalence of low levels of HDL2b, as well as an increased preponderance of smaller HDL. Current guidelines for primary and secondary prevention have not reflected our growing insight into the unique characteristics of the South Asian population, and may need to evolve to reflect our knowledge.