, Volume 4, Issue 3, pp 213-218

Type 2 diabetes in South Asians: A pathophysiologic focus on the Asian-Indian epidemic

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Abstract

There is a high prevalence of type 2 diabetes mellitus and coronary artery disease among urban and migrant Asian Indians, despite the absence of traditional risk factors. Evidence exists that Asian Indians are more insulin resistant than white persons and that insulin resistance may play an important role in the pathogenesis of these diseases. Increased visceral fat in Asian Indians is associated with increased generalized obesity, which is not apparent from their nonobese body mass index. Increased visceral fat is related to dyslipidemia and increased frequency of insulin resistance and may account for the increased prevalence of diabetes mellitus and cardiovascular disease in Asian Indians. In addition, early protein energy deprivation, as indicated by low weight at birth and at 1 year of age, may induce a state of vulnerability to the development of type 2 diabetes in later life, especially if the quantitative and qualitative aspects of nutrition and altered lifestyles during adult years pose an additional challenge.