Background: Modern medicine recognizes that salient, inherent variations between Caucasians and Asians exist. Radical changes are occurring in the health scene with increasing emphasis centered on the recognition of inter-individual variations unique to Asians that impact on medical management and outcomes. Aim: This review analyzes distinct features or outcomes in terms of epidemiology, disease thresholds, diagnostic cutoffs and treatment responses of Asian people compared with non-Asians. Methods: This review is based on a literature search via PubMed and MEDLINE for relevant articles related to the Asian phenotype and its impact on health and disease. Results: An 'Asian phenotype' could be characterized across the spectrum of biomedical disciplines and underscores the major challenges clinicians must face in their daily management of a cosmopolitan population and their extrapolation of research outcomes. Conclusion: Interventions for various ailments that have traditionally ignored population differences have now entered the age of personalized, stratified or precision medicine requiring an individualized approach being adopted as a new standard of care. Factoring in Asian phenotypes is essential for the medical research community and the development of improved clinical practice guidelines across a continuum of disciplines that will ultimately translate to better human health round the world.