Rochdale NHS urge Asians in Manchester to change lifestyles or risk coronary heart disease

By Jeremy Culley

Asians in Manchester are at a higher risk of heart disease than white residents because of evolution, their diet and a tendency to develop diabetes, Rochdale health experts have said.

NHS Heywood, Middleton and Rochdale also claim being overweight, a smoker, having high blood pressure and having a family history of the condition all increase the likelihood of suffering from the disease.

The borough has one of the highest rates of coronary heart disease, with 74 percent more women under 75 and 41 percent more men dying early from the problem than nationally.

The fatty ingredients used in traditional curries and natural body shape are two prominent explanations given for those of Bangladeshi, Pakistani or Indian origin being more susceptible to heart problems.

Bernadine O’Sullivan, Consultant in Public Health in Rochdale, said a wide range of scientific factors explain why this particular sector of society are at greater risk.

“Those of South Asian origin are more likely to accumulate fats at the front of the body (as opposed to those who are pear-shaped and acquire fat at the sides) which increases the risk of cardiovascular disease,” she said.

“Also, dietary factors, for examples fats used in traditional cooking such as ghee, increases the risk of developing body fat.”

Ms O’Sullivan said an extra risk of diabetes exists in this demographic, which makes them more susceptible to heart problems.

Each year, more than 300 people from Rochdale die from coronary heart disease.

The British Heart Foundation’s Hearty Lives programme is committed to improving heart health and lifestyle so people live longer, healthier lives.

As part of the programme, three specialist cardiovascular nurses are working across the community to find and treat those at risk of a heart attack.

Nursing trio, Sarah McStay, Christine Reade and Ngaire Smith, of Pennine Care NHS Foundation Trust, have helped more than 2,500 patients over the last two years.

Ms McStay said: “The key to keeping a healthy heart is to lead an active lifestyle by not smoking, having a healthy weight, low blood pressure and cholesterol. We know it can be difficult to live healthy lives, but we are here to provide support, advice and encouragement.”

For the National Heart Month, the Hearty Lives team and BHF are combining healthy living promotion with a fun-filled day by organising a free, circus-themed Red Day Festival at Rochdale Town Hall on February 21.

Ms O’Sullivan added: “We’re committed to improving the health of those in Rochdale Borough.  Making a change to your lifestyle now, could mean a healthier heart and a longer life.”

If you are worried about your heart health, speak to a GP, who can advise on local services.

For more information about Hearty Lives visit

Picture courtesy of Keith Williamson, with thanks. 

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