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What do we know about cardiovascular disease among Indigenous people?

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What is cardiovascular disease?

Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is a group of diseases affecting the heart and circulatory system [1]. The most common types of CVD are coronary heart disease (including heart attack), stroke, heart failure, and high blood pressure. Risk factors (a behaviour or characteristic that makes it more likely for a person to get a disease) for CVD include: smoking tobacco, not eating well, and having diabetes.

What do we know about the impact of cardiovascular disease among Indigenous people?

Many Indigenous people are affected by cardiovascular disease (CVD). In the 2004-2005 National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Survey (NATSIHS), almost one-in-eight Indigenous people reported having a long-term heart or related condition [2]. Heart and related conditions were around 1.3 times more common for Indigenous people than for non-Indigenous people; high blood pressure (the most commonly reported condition) was reported 1.5 times more often by Indigenous people than by non-Indigenous people.

CVD was the most common cause of death for Indigenous people in 2006-2010 [3]. More than one-quarter of Indigenous deaths were from CVD. Deaths from CVD happened almost twice as often for Indigenous people as for non-Indigenous people. Indigenous people were much more likely to die from CVD than other Australians at any age, but particularly in younger age-groups [4].

In 2006-2010, coronary heart disease caused more than one-half of CVD-related deaths; heart attacks were responsible for one-in-five CVD-related deaths [3]. Strokes caused around one-in-nine deaths from CVD of Indigenous men and around one-in-six of those of Indigenous women.

References

  1. Penm E (2008) Cardiovascular disease and its associated risk factors in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples 2004-05. Canberra: Australian Institute of Health and Welfare
  2. Australian Bureau of Statistics (2006) National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Survey: Australia, 2004-05. Canberra: Australian Bureau of Statistics
  3. Australian Health Ministers’ Advisory Council (2012) Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health performance framework: 2012 report. Canberra: Office for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health, Department of Health and Ageing
  4. Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (2011) Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health performance framework 2010: detailed analyses. Canberra: Australian Institute of Health and Welfare
 
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