Abo­rig­i­nal heart health poor: re­port

Western Suburbs Weekly - - Health -

A COM­PRE­HEN­SIVE re­port into Abo­rig­i­nal heart health is call­ing for more to be done to re­duce the sin­gle big­gest killer of Abo­rig­i­nal peo­ple.

The joint project by the Uni­ver­sity of WA and Heart Foun­da­tion brings to­gether an eight- year re­search ef­fort into heart dis­ease among Abo­rig­i­nal West Aus­tralians.

The re­port high­lights the need for all sec­tors of gov­ern­ment, health providers, busi­ness and the com­mu­nity to fur­ther nar­row the gap be­tween rates of Abo­rig­i­nal and non-Abo­rig­i­nal heart dis- ease deaths.

“We need to change the game for Abo­rig­i­nal heart health in WA,” re­port au­thor and WA Cen­tre for Ru­ral Health epi­demi­ol­o­gist Judy Katzenel­len­bo­gen said.

“The jour­ney starts with pre­vent­ing heart dis­ease in the first place and this area needs much more at­ten­tion.

“Next is to treat ex­ist­ing cases early and with the most ef­fec­tive treat­ments we have.”

Re­searchers found that Abo­rig­i­nal peo­ple who ex­pe­ri­enced their first heart attack or hos­pi­tal­i­sa­tion for heart fail­ure or atrial fib­ril­la­tion – a type of ir­reg­u­lar heart­beat – were on av­er­age 15 to 20 years younger than non-Abo­rig­i­nal pa­tients.

Co-au­thor and WA Cen­tre for Ru­ral Health direc­tor San­dra Thomp­son said a well-sup­ported Abo­rig­i­nal health work­force and bet­ter ser­vice in­te­gra­tion were the most im­por­tant im­prove­ments re­quired.

“A com­mit­ted ef­fort from gov­ern­ment, busi­ness, health ser­vice providers and com­mu­ni­ties has the po­ten­tial to greatly im­prove the life ex­pectancy of our Abo­rig­i­nal pop­u­la­tion,” she said.

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