Our ability to assess individual patient cardiovascular risk is based on "traditional" risk factors including patient's characteristics (age, sex and body mass index), hypertension, diabetes, smoking, lipid profile and family history of premature coronary disease. These factors are important for the clinician in order to calculate risk and initiate treatment in both primary and secondary settings. As the morbidity and mortality from vascular disease in United Kingdom migrant populations of Indo Asian origin is significantly higher (approximately 50%) than the Western Europeans, an accurate assessment of risk and preventative therapies can reduce cardiovascular risk and improve clinical outcome. Indeed, scoring systems like the Framingham consistently underestimate risk in Indo Asians. This review assesses differences between traditional risk factors in Indo Asians and summarizes the relevance of more novel factors in a more comprehensive evaluation of cardiovascular risk in the Indo Asian population. Greater appreciation of these traditional risk factors for coronary atherosclerosis in Indo Asians--including hypertension and metabolic syndrome (of which hypertension is a key component)--suggests the need for a reappraisal to put these data in context of current management strategies.