Aboriginal heart health poor: report
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.