I want to discuss the cardiac health and diabetic epidemic that is taking place in India. It is estimated that 60% of all heart disease burden worldwide occurs in the South Asian subcontinent. After experiences with family and friends suffering from cardiac disease, my brother Sevith Rao and I started a non-profit, the Indian Heart Association, also known as the IHA (www.indianheartassociation.org). The logo is also attached. To date we have conducted screening camps in India, conducted social media and written educational outreach, and serve on an Indian governmental national cardiac committee.
In my experience with medical care in rural Tamil Nadu, there are anecdotally many cases daily of patients with cardiac risk factors including diabetes, hypertension, tobacco use, and hyperlipidemia. During this experience, I have also encountered patients as young as 40 with metabolic syndrome who present with acute coronary syndrome. Many of our patients both and women have poorly controlled Diabetes who present with diabetic feet or retinopathy. In fact, representatives from the Indian Medical Association have stated that South India including Tamil Nadu is the diabetic capital of the world! Below I am participating in the care of a patient with multiple cardiac risk factors.
During the last three week global health experience, I have continued my work with the IHA both through revamping of the website as well as writing content for both online and written formats. In the future, I hope to partner the Indian Heart Association with rural health organizations in India to increase cardiac health outreach to this population.