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Preventing Cardiovascular Disease Conference, London, UK

BAPS Charities, in collaboration with The Royal Free Hospital and The Lipid Association of India, hosted a conference on ‘Preventing Cardiovascular Disease’ on Saturday 1 June 2019 at BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, London.

The event marked 10 years of community cardiovascular screenings organised by BAPS Charities and The Royal Free Hospital, which have served more than 2,500 people across local communities in the UK. Attendees at these screenings have often shared that their experience has been enhanced through consultations with medical professionals of the same ethnic background – fostering positive discussions regarding lifestyle changes in a culturally sensitive manner.

The Royal Free Hospital is a major teaching hospital in Hampstead, London, and a longstanding partner of BAPS Charities. The Lipid Association of India (LAI) is a team of eminent and young doctors in the field of cardiovascular medicine, internal medicine and pharmacology who are interested in the field of lipidology.

The conference was attended by more than 100 people, including medical professionals, patients, volunteers and members of the local community. Participants were educated about the latest research in cardiovascular health from eminent speakers, including Prof. Vimal Mehta (Professor in Cardiology at C.B. Pant Hospital, New Delhi), Prof. Raman Puri (Consultant at Indraprastha Apollo Hospital, New Delhi), Dr S. S. Iyengar (Consultant Cardiologist at Manipal Hospital, Bangalore) and Dr Devaki Nair (Consultant Chemical Pathologist and Clinical Lead for Clinical Biochemistry at The Royal Free Hospital, London).

Dr Anjly Jain (Clinical Research Fellow in the Department of Clinical Biochemistry at The Royal Free Hospital) presented findings from the screening sessions of the last 10 years. She revealed that almost two-thirds of participants were obese, more than a third of participants were registered with undiagnosed high cholesterol, and a similar amount exhibited high blood pressure.

The urgent attention and action required in the Asian community to address conditions such as high cholesterol, blood pressure, diabetes and obesity – contributors of cardiac disease and the risks of stroke – were discussed, and practical measures including nutrition, exercise and increased awareness to combat these were also addressed. Dr Iyengar especially stressed the need for a “mandatory screening of blood cholesterol profile or lipid profile” at 18 for all people of Indian origin, given the high incidence of cardiovascular disease among the ethnicity.

Kesh Morjaria, a participant of the screening programme with a strong family history of diabetes, shared, “Understanding my cardiovascular health through this screening programme has allowed me to make crucial lifestyle changes. I feel much more active and energetic than I felt 10 years ago.”

Narendra Patel, a lead volunteer at BAPS Charities, added, “It is fitting to hold this celebratory conference about cardiovascular health and welcome our supporters and guests. I would like to thank our committed team who have undertaken screening and promoted awareness about cardiovascular health over the years. We look forward to continue spreading these life-saving messages in local communities around the country.”

Prof. Vimal Mehta, who has more than 50 peer-reviewed articles published in international journals, commented, “I was hugely impressed at the level of detail provided by your trained volunteers to make cardiovascular screening a success. Observing their dedication and commitment is truly overwhelming.”