Heart Attack Prevention Tips

Jasbina Ahluwalia asks Ashish Mathur, Co-Founder and Executive Director of the South Asian Heart Center at El Camino Hospital: Given these sobering statistics, I would love it if you would share what the AIM to Prevent program is about. Tell us more about that. It sounds very heartening, so tell us a little bit more about that.



Ashish Mathur

Heart Attack Prevention: Lifestyle Change

I’ll start by giving you a statistic, and that is, 80% of heart attacks can actually be prevented through lifestyle changes.

This was a very late-breaking story that just came out within the last two months. There have been so many lifestyle studies that have been done and shown to show the positive effect of lifestyle changes, even in older ages.


Heart Attack Prevention: Exercise

If you start exercising at the age of 45, you’ll see a benefit of that in longevity, production and chronic disease.

That’s the heart and soul of our AIM to Prevent program. Our AIM to Prevent program that we’ve created is a very carefully crafted and unique program for Indians.


Heart Attack Prevention: AIM

AIM is an acronym for Assess, Intervene and Manage. It’s been put together for primary prevention.

We are really targeting young South Asians, young Indians, to undergo this program early in life starting at the age of 18.


Jasbina Ahluwalia

You’re starting at 18, wow. Okay.


Ashish Mathur

At the age of 18, yes.


Heart Attack Prevention: Testing

Normal cholesterol testing in this country is done at the age of 45 and we know that 30% to 40% of heart attacks in Indians would have already occurred by then.

It’s moot to really go in for cholesterol testing at the age of 45. We start seeing the genetic markers as early as 18 years of age.

Specifically, the really deadly combinations of some lipid proteins, one of them is LPA.

In the assess phase, our hope is to take you through three sets of assessments.


Heart Attack Prevention: LPA, Lipids

One is the advanced laboratory test that includes markers beyond the normal lipid panel.

We also do a full assessment of your personal history, your family medical history and your lifestyle habits and history. We are focusing on the areas that could raise your risk of heart disease or diabetes.


Heart Attack Prevention: Physicality

We also do a brief physical to look at your blood pressure, heart rate and height and weight, giving a BMI, which is a good measure of one of the risks as well.

That’s the assessment phase. We then follow it up with a personalized report.

The report is presented to you in the form of an iceberg.


Heart Attack Prevention: Identify Risks

It actually shows the tip of the iceberg, which consists of the traditional tests that you get done at your physician’s office.

Then underneath the iceberg, underneath the surface, are all of the hidden risks with all of the special markers that we look at for Indians. One marker is LPA.

LPA is Lipid Protein A, which is heightened and elevated in South Asians. It is a genetic marker that multiplies the risk.

If you have an elevated LPA because of your genetic history, and you have one health risk factor, then your risk is multiplied seven times.

If you have two risk factors, let’s say for example you also have high blood pressure, then your risk is actually 32 times.

If you have three risk factors, then your risk is multiplied 122 times.


Heart Attack Prevention: Know More

Very often, because we don’t know about the status of LPA, we aren’t able to correlate your risk very easily just through the lipid panel or the cholesterol testing that’s normally done.

LPA is a key marker. When we started with the South Asian Heart Center, there was a lot of controversy around the LPA but now uniformly, everyone is looking at LPA as a marker.

There have been several new studies that have been done and have correlated the risk and the more explicative aspect of the risk with LPA. That’s a good marker to check for.


Tell Us:

Have you learned of any heart attack prevention tips through your research? Share with us below in the comments section.


The above is an excerpt from Jasbina’s interview with Ashish Mathur

The entire interview transcript is at: Ashish Mathur NetIP (Network of Indian Professionals) Interview – Heart Diseases and their Prevention Tools for South Asians

Listen to the entire interview on: Intersections Match Talk Radio – Jasbina’s Lifestyle Show

Listen to the entire interview on Blog Talk Radio: NetIP