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CMAJ. 2010 September 7; 182(12): 1334.
PMCID: PMC2934811

Cardiovascular disease among South Asians

Arun K. Garg, MD
University of British Columbia and Fraser Health

Cardiovascular disease in our country has reached epidemic proportions, and we commend Chiu and colleagues for their thorough investigation into the role of ethnicity and risk factors.1

There is no question that South Asians have higher rates of diabetes than the general population and that poor diet and exercise are the major risk factors behind this trend. What was surprising from the study was that the rate of coronary artery disease was reported to be higher in the Caucasian subgroup than in the South Asians. We are unclear how to interpret this information in light of the growing evidence for disproportionately high rates of coronary artery disease among South Asians.2,3 We wonder whether the methods (i.e., self-reported measures) influenced the results of Chiu and colleagues’ study.

Nevertheless, it is clear that we require more definitive measures for determining the rates of coronary artery disease in the South Asian population in Canada. We hope that Chiu and colleagues’ article sets the precedent and generates further interest to encourage high-quality epidemiologic studies in Canada. Such work will be fundamental to policy decisions required to reduce the burden of cardiovascular disease in this country.


For the full letter, go to:


1. Chiu M, Austin PC, Manuel DG, et al. Comparison of cardiovascular risk profiles among ethnic groups using population health surveys between 1996 and 2007. CMAJ. 2010;182:E301–310. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
2. Bhalodkar NC, Blum S, Rana T, et al. Comparison of levels of large and small high-density lipoprotein cholesterol in Asian Indian men compared with Caucasian men in the Framingham Offspring Study. Am J Cardiol. 2004;94:1561–3. [PubMed]
3. Bainey KR, Jugdutt BI. Increased burden of coronary artery disease in South-Asians living in North America. Need for an aggressive management algorithm. Atherosclerosis. 2009;204:1–10. [PubMed]

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