Immigrants to Canada are more likely to face cardiac problem.
According to a new study to be presented on Monday at the Canadian Cardiovascular Congress, the stressful process of settling in a new country might be putting Canadian immigrants at risk for health problems.
The study revealed that while many immigrants move to Canada with a healthy hearts, their cardiovascular health becomes worse with time they spend in Canada. Surpassing risk levels of other people born in Canada of the same ethnic backgrounds, immigrants to Canada become more prone to heart attacks and in some cases this leads to premature death.
Dr. Scott Lear, lead author of the study and kinesiologist at the Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, said that in most cases, when people move to a new country, especially Canada, they are coming for an improvement in their life. Yet, he added, the healthy immigrant effect that we know fades with time they spend in Canada.
The researchers measured Atherosclerosis, or narrowing of artery, using ultrasound, in a group of 618 Chinese, European and South Asian Canadians. 460 of these 618 people were immigrants.
The experiment focused on the carotid artery, which carries blood to the head and neck and is commonly used to find a person’s pulse. It was found that the longer the immigrant lived in Canada, the greater was the thickening of the arterial wall.
Lear said that the speculation is that it might be the stress associated with coming to a new country or the challenges faced by those individual that has lead to the finding.
Jim Brown, 74, who immigrated from Scotland forty-years ago, said that when he arrived in Canada he never felt any cause to see doctors. To his surprise, he suffered a heart attack in 2000, and it came as a shock when he learned that one of his arteries was 90 percent blocked.
He said that this could have started long before the heart attack and added that he is still unaware of what caused his ailing health.
Lear, whose study was funded by the Canadian Institute of Health Research and the Heart and Stroke Foundation, hopes that his findings will encourage the creation of health strategies for immigrants from the moment they arrive in Canada.
He said that Canada is a nation which is aggressively promoting immigration to Canada and this means that the country shouldn’t just do a medical screening, but should also be providing services after the immigrants land here.