WHAT WE DO
People of South Asian origin are at high risk for developing premature coronary heart disease and diabetes mellitus. In Canada, South Asians represent the fastest growing visible minority. Recent data demonstrate that South Asians in Ontario have the highest burden of coronary heart disease, stroke, hypertension, and diabetes compared to white Caucasians, Chinese Canadians, and black Canadians.
Individuals of South Asian origin (India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal and Pakistan) face a higher burden of heart disease and diabetes compared to other ethnic groups: - South Asians have twice the risk for developing coronary artery disease (CAD) compared to Caucasians. - They also face 40% higher mortality due to CAD than white Caucasians. This is where SANSAR, the South Asian Network Supporting Awareness and Research, comes in. SANSAR has been working with the South Asian community since 2009 to promote cardiovascular health through education, community awareness and research.
The cornerstone of prevention of these diseases lies in appropriate risk assessment for traditional risk factors, including managing blood pressure, blood sugar, cholesterol levels, and smoking. The early recognition and management of these risk factors can have a large effect in the prevention of heart disease and diabetes.
Studies show that traditional methods of risk assessment, which are widely taught in medical schools, generally underestimate the true heart disease risk in South Asians. Furthermore, South Asians also have a unique risk factor profile compared to white Caucasians, a concept not widely appreciated by medical professionals. SANSAR hopes to address this care gap through community education, awareness initiatives and research.