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South Asians in US more prone to cardiovascular diseases and diabetes

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Washington: South Asians in US are more prone to heart attacks and diabetes when compared to other ethnic groups, as highlighted in a health congress here.

The American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI) has highlighted various preventive healthcare initiatives at the First World Congress on Preventive Healthcare 2015 in Houston, Texas.

Aimed at creating global awareness about preventive healthcare, the three-day Congress held from July 10-12 was part of the North American Bengali Conference (NABC) 2015, organized by Tagore Society of Houston.

The Congress highlighted that one American dies every 40 seconds in the US from cardiovascular diseases. A disproportionate burden of this risk is seen in the 3.4 million South Asians who live in the US.

The risks for heart attacks and cardiovascular deaths can be up to five times higher for South Asians when compared to other ethnic groups.

The total number of people with diabetes is projected to rise from 171 million in 2000 to 366 million in 2030.

In 2012, 29.1 million Americans, or 9.3 percent of the population, had diabetes and 13 percent of Asian Indians had diabetes.

While South Asians have a one in three lifetime risk for developing diabetes, total costs of diagnosed diabetes in the US in 2012 were $245 billion.

Dr. Sumita Chowdhury, chairperson for the Congress, appealed to the South Asian community to help conquer the epidemics of cardiovascular diseases and diabetes by joining the the South Asian Cardiovascular Registry.

Bringing together all stakeholders in the healthcare to formulate a shared vision towards prevention of disease, the Congress was intended to create sustainable measures for prevention that can be adapted worldwide and integrated into the fabric of life.

The forum was a way to evaluate the factors contributing to the increased disease risk among South Asians and help to formulate awareness campaigns to help modify risk factors that are specific to this ethnic group.

AAPI President Dr Seema Jain, highlighted various initiatives taken by the largest ethnic association of medical professionals in the US, in America and in India for preventing health risks and bringing the best healthcare to millions of people.

An estimated 1.2 million physicians of Indian origin working around the world have made enormous contributions to the world of healthcare, she said.

Jain pointed out that Indian-Americans constitute less than one percent of the population in the US, but they account for nearly nine percent of the physicians in the country.

Serving in almost all parts of America, they are estimated to provide healthcare to over 40 million patients in the US, she said.

(IANS)

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Common BP Drug May Prevent Onset Of Type 1 Diabetes

For the study, published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation, the team used a supercomputer, on the lab bench, in mice, and in humans

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Type 1 Diabetes

A drug commonly used to control high blood pressure may be also effective in preventing the onset of Type 1 diabetes in up to 60 percent of those at risk, researchers say.

The drug, methyldopa, has been used for over 50 years to treat high blood pressure in pregnant women and children and is also on the World Health Organization’s list of essential drugs.

Methyldopa was found to block a molecule called DQ8 — found in some 60 percent at the risk of getting Type 1 diabetes — which significantly increases the chance of getting the disease.

Blocking specifically the DQ8 molecule could also block the onset of the disease, the study found.

 

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“This is the first personalized treatment for Type 1 diabetes prevention,” said Aaron Michels, Associate Professor of medicine at University of Colorado – Anschutz.

“With this drug, we can potentially prevent up to 60 percent of Type 1 diabetes in those at the risk for the disease. This is very significant development,” Michels added.

Type 1 Diabetes

For the study, published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation, the team used a supercomputer, on the lab bench, in mice, and in humans.

They found that methyldopa not only blocked DQ8, but it did not also harm the immune function of other cells like many immunosuppressant drugs do.

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“We can now predict with almost 100 percent accuracy who is likely to get Type 1 diabetes. The goal, with this drug, is to delay or prevent the onset of the disease among those at risk,” Michels said.

The drug is taken orally, three times a day.

Besides, diabetes, the same approach of blocking specific molecules can be used in other autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, coeliac disease, multiple sclerosis, systemic lupus erythematosus and others, the researchers noted. (IANS)

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