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Last Updated: Wednesday, 4 July 2007, 23:10 GMT 00:10 UK
Asian Scots in heart attack risk
Heart monitor
The report found South Asians had better survival rates
Scots of South Asian descent are significantly more likely to suffer a heart attack than the rest of the population, according to new research.

Scientists at Edinburgh university found that Indian, Pakistani and Sri Lankan women and their descendents are at 80% higher risk of cardiac arrest.

Men from the same group were 45% more likely to have an attack.

But the study suggests the population group is better placed to survive than their non-Asian counterparts.

South Asian men and women have 40% better survival rates, according to the findings.

Incidence and mortality needs to be driven even lower through better treatment and prevention
Research report

The report, published in the journal BMC Public Health, offers no definite reasons for the higher heart attack incidence in Scotland, which is notorious for its poor cardiac health among the general population.

Earlier research suggests that men and women who migrate from the sub-continent to Scotland are more susceptible because of a marked change in lifestyle.

It is thought fattier diets, less exercise and smoking in their new country put them at greater risk.

Doctors believe the better recovery rate may be due to Asian communities tending to live in inner cities, potentially enabling them to get to hospital quickly.

Increased awareness of heart disease among Asian populations may also be a factor.

There are an estimated 70,000 South Asians living in Scotland - the largest non-white minority ethnic group.

The study was funded by the Scottish Executive and led by Dr Raj Bhopal and Colin Fischbacher.

'Less severe'

The report concludes: "It is worrying that South Asians in Scotland are at greater risk of heart attack than a Scottish population internationally notorious for its susceptibility to heart disease.

"Fortunately, survival after (heart attacks) in South Asians seems to be comparatively good in Scotland, and similar to comparison populations elsewhere.

"Nonetheless, incidence and mortality needs to be driven even lower through better treatment and prevention."

Dr Bhopal added: "South Asians are getting more heart attacks, but they are less severe.

"That seems to be what the story is and that requires further research."

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