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US: Indians at increasing risk of cardiac problems

September 07, 2010 20:56 IST

Cardiac problems are on the rise among Indians at a time the community is already at risk, according to three top cardiologists in Long Island, New York. The reasons include food habits, lack of exercise, and genetic problems, among others.

Cardiologists Dr Mathew Chengot, Dr Kul Deep Chadda and Dr Maliakal Joseph Anto were among the top doctors featured in the Castle Connolly list published by the Long Island-based Newsday.

Castle Connolly identifies the top doctors nationally and regionally after a rigorous selection process.

"Whenever I see people with a pot belly I think they are just waiting for trouble, especially with diabetes," Chengot said. "Having too much starch in the food is another villain. Coconut oil with its saturated fatty acids too creates problems. Even vegetarians face risk due to this," he said.

"South Asians refuse to exercise. Moderate exercise at least three times a week is very important," Chadda said. "They refuse to go for regular check-ups and find out problems like high blood pressure, which is a silent killer. When they go for it, enough harm is already done."

Genetic problems too contribute to the risk.

"Even if the cholesterol level is normal for South Asians, it is better it is brought further down to prevent problems," Chengot noted.

The community should follow standard guidelines to prevent problems, Chadda suggested.

"Low levels of HDL cholesterol and high triglycerides are a very common finding. South Asians also manifest a very high incidence of diabetes mellitus. These risk factors contribute to the high incidence of coronary artery disease in the Indian Diaspora," Anto said.

Chadda is a professor of clinical medicine at the State University of New York at Stony Brook and is the director of cardiology at Wyckoff Heights Medical Center in Brooklyn, New York. He is credited with establishing several electrophysiology programs. In 1979, he established the arrhythmia management and sudden death prevention program at the Long Island Jewish Medical Center, the first electrophysiology program for the Queens and Long Island area.

Anto is a principal partner in North Shore Cardiopulmonary Associates, a cardiology group on Long Island.

Chengot is medical director at Amityville Heart Center on Long Island and clinical assistant professor in medicine at Stony Brook University School of Medicine. He is also clinical instructor in medicine at North Shore University Hospital, Manhasset, New York, and attending physician at Winthrop University Hospital. He has been part of Castle Connolly's list of top cardiologists since 1996.

George Joseph