Coronary heart disease in Asian Indians: Perspectives of family members

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Journal Article
Contemporary Nurse, 2006, 23 (2), pp. 189 - 201
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© eContent Management Pty Ltd. Despite the high prevalence rate and significant mortality and morbidity from coronary heart disease in Asian Indians (irrespective of their religious background), very few studies have reported on family members' experiences of caring for a person with coronary heart disease. This paper reports on family members' experiences of coronary heart disease in Asian Indians residing in Australia, and is part of a larger study that explored the experiences and/or understanding of coronary heart disease in Asian Indians from the perspective of patients, family members and 'healthy' participants. Using a constructivist approach semi-structured in-depth interviews were conducted with five family members. Findings are represented under the following main categories: 1.A period of complexity for family members; 2. Indian culture: Its influence on health/health behaviour and illness experience; 3. Impact of migration and societal discrimination; 4. Disappointment with health care services and the health system; and 5. Strategies to prevent cardiac illness and attain optimal health. Cultural factors had both positive and negative influences not only on the illness experience but also on health behaviour and attitude. The impact of Indian culture in relation to coronary heart disease needs to be understood not only at the cultural level by providing culturally sensitive health care, but also by educating Asian Indians to change their health attitude and behaviour and improve their lifestyle. Asian Indians need education and advice to become more resilient and adaptable to a Western society and also to become aware of the acculturative effects of aWestern lifestyle.
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