By: Ajay Ghosh
AAPI and AACIO to collaborate on diabetes and cardiovascular disease education
CHICAGO, IL: Important research regarding South Asian cardiometabolic disease was published in JAMA on December 20, 2019 by Cheng YJ, Kanaya AM, Araneta MRG, et al entitled “Prevalence of Diabetes by Race and Ethnicity in the United States, 2011-2016.”(1) The American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI) together with the American Association of Cardiologists of Indian Origin (AACIO) jointly acknowledge that the data generated by these authors has far-reaching implications for the South Asian community with respect to diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
In the above study, diabetes prevalence (diagnosed and
undiagnosed) was found to be 12.1% for non-Hispanic whites and 23.3% for South
Asians. “The 23% reflects a critical need for aggressive action towards better
prevention and management of diabetes along with the accompanying
cardiovascular risk” stated Dr. Kamini Trivedi, a family physician,
lipidologist, and honorary Board Member of AACIO.
In addition, Deepak L. Bhatt, MD, MPH, Executive
Director of Interventional Cardiovascular Services at Brigham and Women’s
Hospital and Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School stated, “These
valuable data demonstrate the incredibly high, vastly underappreciated burden
of diabetes among South Asians. Particularly distressing is how many South
Asians have diabetes without even knowing it. This phenomenon is surely fueling
the cardiovascular epidemic among South Asians.” Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of
death in the U.S., spending over $500 billion on cardiovascular disease each
AAPI and AACIO are medical societies together
comprised of several tens of thousands of physicians of Indian origin in the
U.S. who provide care to patients of all ethnicities and diverse
backgrounds. Physicians who are engaged
with these two medical societies are particularly passionate about diabetes
given that diabetes and premature cardiovascular disease so often impact their
extended family and friends.
AAPI and AACIO immediately held a joint meeting the
same day that the study results were unveiled, reflecting the urgency. Dr. Brahma Sharma, a prominent cardiologist
affiliated with VA University of Pittsburgh and serving as the Chair of the
AAPI Ad Hoc Committee on South Asian Cardiovascular Disease, led the meeting in
which Dr. Trivedi and Dr. Bhatt participated alongside the current President of
AAPI, Dr. Suresh Reddy, a neuroradiologist.
Dr. Navin Nanda, MD, DSc (Hon), Distinguished Professor of Medicine and
Cardiovascular Disease at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, and an
internationally renowned cardiologist, Dr. Hanumant K. Reddy, current President
of AACIO, and Dr. Vishal Gupta, President-Elect of AACIO, have offered their
leadership on behalf of AACIO in conjunction with AAPI’s leadership towards
addressing these challenges. Dr Nanda, who is past President and incorporator
of AAPI as well as the Founding President of AACIO pointed out that the results
of the study are similar to those conducted by Dr. Naresh Parikh and him in the
Atlanta area in 2004 which also showed, for the first time, a high prevalence of
diabetes mellitus in South Asians living in the USA, 18.3% overall with 22.5%
in men and 13.6% in women.(4)
The JAMA paper along with CDC’s press release (5) on
this paper were discussed at the joint AACIO-AAPI leadership meeting. AAPI and
AACIO conducted preliminary brainstorming on strategy and will now work with
increased collaboration to educate both physicians and the U.S. South Asian
community. Education about lifestyle
modification, including culturally appropriate nutrition and physical activity,
along with guideline recommended medical therapy will be the foundation of
Dr. Suresh Reddy on behalf of AAPI stated, “We have the talent, skills, strength, and the commitment. Let’s put them to work and help our community.” Dr. Sharma expressed that the authors of this JAMA study deserve high praise. The joint efforts of AAPI and AACIO will require a coming together of various stakeholders who are leading valuable efforts on South Asian diabetes and cardiovascular disease. AAPI and AACIO would like to amplify their various efforts and welcome collaboration. Physicians as well as other interested stakeholders who are interested in joining and shaping the collaborations with AAPI and AACIO should contact Vijaya Kodali at Vkodali@aapiusa.org .
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