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‘Lower’ chance of African Caribbeans having heart disease

HEART DISPLAY: An exhibit during American Heart Month (PA)

PEOPLE OF African Caribbean heritage are less likely to develop coronary heart disease (CHD) than other ethnic groups, according to a recent American study.

Data published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology says the differences between South Asians, Europeans, and African Caribbean people can not be explained by lifestyle factors.

Scientists examined whether ethnic disparities in diabetes, dyslipidemia (abnormal cholesterol in blood), and ectopic fat deposition (where individual’s store excess energy as fat) are responsible for differences in the occurrence of CHD.

The study used data from a 1988 to 1991 tri-ethnic cohort of 4,196 from London, comprising white Europeans (48.8 per cent), South Asians (36.2 per cent) and African Caribbeans (15 per cent).

The average (mean) age of the cohort was 52.4 years.

Using the European sample as the comparison, the study found a lower incidence of CHD in African Caribbeans, and an elevated occurrence in South Asians.

These conclusions were established in spite of the study determining African Caribbeans and South Asians being three times more likely to develop diabetes than Europeans.

Furthermore, the study found that African Caribbeans were less likely than the other two ethnic samples to have central obesity and dyslipidemia.

“People of European, South Asian and African Caribbean origin vary markedly in CVD risk, in parallel with differences in metabolic risk factors such as insulin resistance, dyslipidemia and central adiposity”, the researchers said.

“However, the between-ethnic group differences in CVD remained even after adjustment for conventional cardiometabolic risk factors measured in midlife.

“Factors across the life course, in particular the mismatch between early and later life environments in migrant cohorts, may be key. This is of critical importance in lower income countries, where CHD risks are increasing, and in African Caribbean populations, where there is evidence that protection from CHD erodes with time in industrialized environments”, they added.

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