Health Talk: South Asians Face a Greater Risk of Diabetes and In Turn That of Heart Disease

Did you know that by just being South Asians we face a greater risk of type 2 diabetes? Did you also know that one in two people with type 2 diabetes will die of heart disease? I was alarmed to learn these facts and today would like to have a heart-to-heart with you all and discuss our lifestyle as South Asians.

As South Asians we love our food, getting together with family and talking cricket/politics/dramas. How many of us take time out to exercise? Make healthy eating choices? Do you have a family member who has diabetes? Did you know that all these factors increase our risk for diabetes along with just being South Asian that is a risk factor in itself?

An estimated 3.5 million Canadians have diabetes, 90 per cent of whom have type 2 diabetes. In fact, according to the 2015 Diabetes Report: Driving Change, from 2000 to 2010 the rate of diabetes in Canada more than doubled, and this trend is projected to continue. Type 2 diabetes can lead to several health problems including blindness, foot ulcers and amputations, but heart disease (which includes heart attack, heart failure and stroke) is the most common cause of death.

Most of us don’t realize the strong link between diabetes and heart disease and therefore not aware of the “heartbreaking” effects of diabetes.

Studies show that people with diabetes may develop heart disease 10 to 15 years earlier than people without diabetes, but only 50 per cent of Canadians with type 2 diabetes are aware of this fact. It’s important that you realize the risks that come with diabetes and take preventive steps to reduce the risk of heart disease.

I myself have diabetes in my family and have seen my grandfather live with the disease. I hardly know any South Asian who doesn’t have diabetes in the family. It runs as commonly as our passion for biryani.

Most of us continue with the knowledge that controlling blood sugar is important in managing diabetes, but it is often not enough to protect the heart. Thankfully, recent advances have been made in managing the risk of death from heart disease for people with diabetes.

Knowledge of the connection between diabetes and heart disease can be life-saving. If you have a family member who has type 2 diabetes urge them to talk to their doctor about the risk of heart disease they face and the simple steps they can take to lower their risk.

I would encourage you to visit myheartmatters.ca to learn more and do a simple assessment here to find out your risk of type 2 diabetes-related heart disease.

Take care of your health and of those around you. Share this post with your loved ones to show them you care. It’s important to have these heart-to-heart conversations about our health.

Disclaimer: This blog post is sponsored by an alliance of two of Canada’s leading research-based pharmaceutical companies.

2 thoughts on “Health Talk: South Asians Face a Greater Risk of Diabetes and In Turn That of Heart Disease

  1. The thing that ties up all of these lifestyle diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, pcod, thyroid, obesity is insulin resistance. Also the rise in consumption of junk and pacakaged/processed products for ‘ease’ has wrecked havoc on our poor insulin sensitivity.

    It is very true all that you have written and I am so glad you highlighted this issue. Much of what we go through in the later years of our lives is because of trashy diets and lack of exercise in our earlier years. Its never too late though and one should get up and get moving!

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