Heart disease the great divide

The findings are from the most recent review carried out by HealthInfoNet, which brought together the information, research and knowledge available on the cardiovascular health of Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians.

Other findings include:

  • Coronary heart disease (CHD) is  the leading cause of death for Indigenous Australians;
  • The difference in death rates between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians was particularly high in the middle adult years (35-54 years);

“Indigenous people experience much poorer cardiovascular health than do other Australians,” Director of HealthInfoNet Professor Neil Thomson said.  

“Cardiovascular disease (CVD) makes a substantial contribution to the disparities in health between Indigenous people and non-Indigenous people.”

Research also found that death from rheumatic heart disease is also more common amongst Indigenous people than non-Indigenous people.

Professor Thomson said that more research is needed to understand why there is such a disparity in these diseases between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians.

“The factors contributing to the high levels of CVD among Indigenous people, and associated hospitalisation and mortality, are complex. The high levels of behavioural and biomedical risk factors seen among Indigenous people are clearly associated with the high levels of CVD, but these factors cannot be seen in isolation; they must be viewed within a ‘social determinants’ context,” Professor Thomson said.

“As with other areas of Indigenous health, historical, socio-cultural and economic aspects are the upstream factors within which the behavioural and biomedical risk factors and the actual impacts of CVD should be viewed.”

‘The provision of services to Indigenous people with CVD – be they preventive, management, treatment, or rehabilitative – need to be tailored to each community in consultation with the community and its health care providers,” he said.

Award winning HealthInfoNet is a unique online resource which analyses information on Indigenous health and wellbeing and presents it in a clear and concise manner for health professionals.

For more information on this and other research visit the HealthInfoNet webpage.