Indigenous heart disease rate twice as bad

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The rate of heart disease among Indigenous Australians is more than twice that of non-Indigenous people, a report shows.

The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare report, released on Wednesday to coincide with World Heart Day, looks at a range of data, including Australian Bureau of Statistics health surveys.

It estimates 42,700 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander adults had heart, stroke and vascular disease in 2018/19, based on self-reported data from the ABS.

It equates to a rate of 11.4 per cent of Australia's adult Indigenous population, more than twice that of non-Indigenous adults (5.4 per cent), the report concluded.

The rate of death from heart disease from 2017-19 among Indigenous Australians was 1.8 times greater than non-Indigenous Australians.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people were more likely to be exposed to several risk factors.

Indigenous Australians aged over 15 were more than three times more likely to smoke daily and were more likely to have high blood pressure in 2017/18 (37 to 29 per cent).

World Heart Day seeks to improve equity, prevention and support within the community.

Overall, cardiovascular disease was the underlying cause for 42,300 fatalities in Australia in 2019, one quarter of all deaths.

It is, however, a 22 per cent drop on 55,800 deaths in 1980.

The report noted age-standardised death rates have also fallen, by three-quarters over the last 40 years, from 700 to 150 per 100,000 for men and 452 to 107 per 100,000 for women.

"These declines in deaths have been driven by a number of factors, including reductions in certain risk factors, clinical research, improvements in detection and secondary prevention, and advances in treatment, care, and management," AIHW spokesperson Richard Juckes said.

"However, the broader impact of heart, stroke and vascular disease to individuals and the health system is substantial and is expected to increase in the future as the population ages."

In 2018/19, an estimated 8.7 per cent of expenditure in Australia's health system ($11.8 billion) was attributed to heart disease.

More than 1.2 million Australian adults had one or more conditions related to heart, stroke or vascular disease in 2017/18.

The Australian Burden of Disease Study 2018 report showed coronary heart disease was the nation's leading cause of disease burden.

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