Hidden Causes Of Heart Disease Among Maori And Polynesian People


Although many of us do the right thing by going for yearly check ups and full blood counts, there could be an underlying heart problem we are not aware we have. It doesn’t mean that because we appear to be fit and on the go that our hearts themselves are necessarily functioning properly. Neither does having an ECG always give us the guarantee that our heart is healthy. I experienced a medium to severe heart attack two days after having my last ECG. This had caused me to look into why this had occurred as I showed none of the typical signs such as – high cholesterol, high blood pressure, or being over weight. What I did have however was an overload of stress and one other interesting factor that I thought would not affect me, was the fact that the cardiologists had confirmed that my heart attack had been caused through stress and the other interesting factor was that I had inherited a gene from my father side of the family which I thought would not have affected me the way it did.

My father had never showed any symptoms of heart disease, yet they were there laying dormant and had been easily overlooked. He was a very heavy smoker and a drinker and passed away at the age of seventy five due to lung cancer. He was also of Maori/Polynesian descent and interestingly, this does play a role in the overall health of an individual if they have descended from a Polynesian background. With my mother being Caucasian, I thought I had got away with any heart problems which related back to my hereditary gene pool on my fathers side. The most common forms of disease we often see in Maori and Polynesian Pacific people are…

  • Respiratory problems
  • Heart Disease
  • Diabetes

Maori and Pacific people are considered to have one of the highest rates of heart disease in the industrialised world, along with some third world countries, especially “rheumatic fever” which is more prevalent in those under the age of twenty. This can lead to heart disease in later life. It has also been noted that One hundred years ago, it was expected that the Maori race would die out and be replaced by the white man. Rheumatic fever was intended to kill off the Maori population which had originally been introduced by the white man.

In New Zealand after the Treaty of Waitangi was signed in 1840 there was a noticeable decline of the Maori population which continued declining. Europeans had already spent countless years building up a resistance to such diseases through their lifestyle and more so with the food they had been used to consuming such as processed foods like cream, butter, milk, bread, cake and of course that was how we ended up with the scrumptious icon, the”Devonshire Tea,” which was something the native people had never been accustomed to eating. Their diet consisted of mainly fish and other seafood along with watercress and other natural non processed foods. This is where the gene to low resistance to heart disease came about among the native peoples along with diabetes and respiratory problems, it had been the sudden changes in the consumption of their natural food.

Although it appears many caucasian people suffer from different types of coronary heart disease, Maori and Pacific Island people are at a greater risk because of the changes in diet they made when the white man had settled. South East Asians and Indians are also known to carry this type of gene. They come into the western world and consume western foods which are processed which makes them much higher in toxins, sugar and fat. The safest and sure way to find out about your heart health is to speak to your doctor about having an “angiogram.” This where a camera tube is inserted into a main artery at the top of the leg.

The tube runs the full length of the artery until it reaches the heart itself, where the complete condition of the heart can be assed and viewed on a monitor. You can watch the whole procedure taking place. This is how they found my blocked artery, an ECG will not pick that up. The procedure is painless, and in removing the tube a clamp is then placed over the top part of the leg for round twenty minutes or a little longer to ensure that the bleeding has stopped. The only painful bit about having this done is the cost of it. I think it is a great way to ensure that you have peace of mind, and the cost of it is something I think everyone should consider, regardless of their hereditary background.

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