South Asian lifestyle leads to high early heart attack risk: study

WASHINGTON, Jan 16, 2007 (AFP) – People native to South Asia are at greater risk of heart attack at a younger age than other people because of factors that include lifestyle choices such as smoking, a study published in the US journal JAMA said Tuesday.

India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Nepal account for about a quarter of the world’s population and have the highest proportion of cardiovascular diseases compared with any other region globally.

Deaths related to cardiovascular diseases occur between five and 10 years earlier in these South Asian countries than in Western countries, according to background in the article published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

An international team of researchers led by Dr. Prashant Joshi of the Government Medical College, Nagpur, India, looked at the possibility that South Asians have a special susceptibility for acute myocardial infarction (AMI, or heart attack) that was not explained by traditional risk factors.

The study included 1,732 heart attack patients and 2,204 controls from 15 medical centers in five South Asian countries and 10,728 heart attack cases and 12,431 controls from other countries.

The researchers found that the average age for a first heart attack w