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  • Writer's pictureDr. Jennifer Lush, ND

Heart Disease Risk for AAPI

Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month is observed in the United States during the month of May, and recognizes the contributions and influence of Asian Americans and Pacific Islander Americans to the history, culture, and achievements of the United States.

If you are are of AAPI heritage you may be at a greater risk than you realize for heart disease. In 2014, Native Hawaiians/Pacific Islanders were 10 percent more likely to be diagnosed with coronary heart disease than non-Hispanic whites. Heart-related health issues vary among various Asian and Pacific Islander sub-populations.

South Asians (people from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, Maldives, and Sri Lanka) have a higher risk of heart and vascular disease than any other ethnic group.


Diagnosing heart disease can take several steps. First off all, establish care with a primary care provider for baseline screening labs. These will include your cholesterol panel (fats) as well as several cardiac inflammatory markers. It’s also important to make sure that your blood sugar levels are stable as well.

If you have a high family risk (or ethnic heritage that puts you at risk such as listed above) of cardiovascular issues such as heart attacks, strokes or high blood pressure you can consider further testing such as an EKG, echocardiogram and a doppler of your arteries to establish plaque. All of these tests can be ordered by your primary care provider but may also require a visit to a cardiologist.

If you are diagnosed with any type of cardiovascular issue of course your health care team will establish a personalized care plan just for you!

However, these foods are typically recommended for great heart health in general:

  • Oats and barley. The cell walls of oats and barley contain a special type of soluble fiber called beta-glucan, which has a host of benefits for human health.

  • Salmon and other fatty fish.

  • Dark leafy greens.

  • Nuts and seeds.

  • Beets.

  • Olive oil

  • Legumes

If you or a loved one are interested in knowing your specific risks to heart disease make an appointment today with one of our knowledgeable, talented and caring doctors.

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