Research shows heart failure affects Asians earlier in life

Research shows heart failure affects Asians earlier in life

JUNE 3, 2014

SINGAPORE, June 3 — Heart failure affects Asian patients at least 10 years earlier compared with Westerners, despite Asians having lower Body Mass Index (BMI), preliminary results from a multinational study have shown.

The BMI is a measure of body fat based on an adult’s height and weight. Past studies have linked heart problems to a higher BMI, among other things.

However, the average age of Asian patients with heart failure is 60, much younger than patients from other studies in the United States (72) and Europe (70), the study conducted in 11 Asian countries by the National University Heart Centre, Singapore (NUHCS), showed.

The findings are based on results from the first 2,094 patients in the first year of the study. Researchers are now looking into the genetic differences among ethnicities that could put one at greater risk of heart failure. The size of the study will also eventually include 8,000 patients.

Associate Professor Carolyn Lam of the NUHCS, one of the researchers involved in the study, said: “More and more drug companies are realising that they need to understand the Asian phenotype, that (they) need to do trials here. It is a bit of a black box here compared with the United States and Europe, where trials are done. Most people are just realising now, you cannot just extrapolate the Western data to us.

“There are obviously some differences; we respond differently and have different disease patterns.”

The researchers also found that there is a very high rate of diabetes and hypertension among heart failure patients in Singapore and Malaysia. At 59 per cent, the Republic has the highest percentage of diabetic heart failure patients among the Asian countries surveyed.

Diabetes is one of the many risk factors that can contribute to heart failure. Other factors include coronary arteries disease (blockages of the coronary arteries), hypertension, diabetes and atrial fibrillation (irregular heartbeat).

Among 6,000 hospitalisations in 2011, heart failure was the top cardiovascular cause of hospitalisation in those over 60 in Singapore.

The mortality rate also rivals that of most cancers, with more than half of heart failure patients not surviving the condition within a period of five years.

To help prevent the progression of heart failure and heart diseases, those at risk are advised to have a balanced diet, exercise and take care of pre-existing conditions, such as diabetes and hypertension. — Today

About bambooinnovator
Kee Koon Boon (“KB”) is the co-founder and director of HERO Investment Management which provides specialized fund management and investment advisory services to the ARCHEA Asia HERO Innovators Fund (, the only Asian SMID-cap tech-focused fund in the industry. KB is an internationally featured investor rooted in the principles of value investing for over a decade as a fund manager and analyst in the Asian capital markets who started his career at a boutique hedge fund in Singapore where he was with the firm since 2002 and was also part of the core investment committee in significantly outperforming the index in the 10-year-plus-old flagship Asian fund. He was also the portfolio manager for Asia-Pacific equities at Korea’s largest mutual fund company. Prior to setting up the H.E.R.O. Innovators Fund, KB was the Chief Investment Officer & CEO of a Singapore Registered Fund Management Company (RFMC) where he is responsible for listed Asian equity investments. KB had taught accounting at the Singapore Management University (SMU) as a faculty member and also pioneered the 15-week course on Accounting Fraud in Asia as an official module at SMU. KB remains grateful and honored to be invited by Singapore’s financial regulator Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) to present to their top management team about implementing a world’s first fact-based forward-looking fraud detection framework to bring about benefits for the capital markets in Singapore and for the public and investment community. KB also served the community in sharing his insights in writing articles about value investing and corporate governance in the media that include Business Times, Straits Times, Jakarta Post, Manual of Ideas, Investopedia, TedXWallStreet. He had also presented in top investment, banking and finance conferences in America, Italy, Sydney, Cape Town, HK, China. He has trained CEOs, entrepreneurs, CFOs, management executives in business strategy & business model innovation in Singapore, HK and China.

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