Celebrating Britain's 101 Most Influential Asians 2022

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Prof Jaspal Kooner


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ON HOW not to catch Covid, this is the practical advice to British Asians from Jaspal Kooner, the eminent Professor of Clinical Cardiology at Imperial College London who has done some 20,000 heart operations over the last 20 years and trained 200 cardiologists.

He focuses on what Covid has taught Asians: “As far as the pandemic is concerned, probably the single most important thing that Asians need to do is be even more rigorous than anybody else in terms of making sure that they are keeping to the rules – social distancing, wearing of masks, hygiene. That cannot be over emphasised where Asians are living in crowded environments. And also they need to be careful about the ways in which they socialise. That is probably the most important thing that Asians can do at this stage.”

Speaking from Hammersmith Hospital, where he is a consultant cardiologist, Kooner goes on: “Over and above that, of course, they need to take care and exercise control over the important factors which may additionally put them at higher risk. And that is lifestyle, making sure that they follow healthy lifestyles, are eating properly, exercising well, keeping their weight down and keeping diabetes and blood pressure under control.”

He draws attention to well-known facts: “(Compared with the white population), Asians are at two fold higher risk of cardiovascular disease, three fold higher risk of diabetes and five fold higher risk of kidney failure.”

So far as the pandemic is concerned, he asks a fundamental question: “Some Asians did not get Covid; others got Covid and survived; and others succumbed to Covid. Why?”

This is what he is trying to untangle. To try to understand what is going on with Asians, he says it is not enough simply to “take a snapshot” at any given moment

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