(Professor Mike Calford, Professor Garry Jennings, Ms Vicki Wade, Professor Emily Banks, Associate Professor Ray Lovett, Hon Ken Wyatt AM, MP, Minister for Indigenous Health)
Minister for Indigenous Health Ken Wyatt AM launched the findings for an ANU study that is a world-first for a First Nations population, combining data on major risk factors to calculate the likelihood of future heart attacks and strokes.
The study involving more than 2800 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people found significant numbers of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are at high risk of heart attack or stroke, that risk increases substantially with age and starts earlier than previously thought.
The research shows that around one-third to a half of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in their 40s, 50s and 60s are at high risk of a future heart attack or stroke and most people at high risk were not receiving recommended treatment. The study also found that high levels of risk are occurring in people aged younger than 35, the recommended starting age for heart health screening in national guidelines.
This new evidence shows the potential of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people working together with health professionals and policy makers to guide best practice heart health screening and treatment.
The team are working with communities, policy makers and health professionals to support more heart checks and with guideline developers to incorporate the findings into best-practice care for cardiovascular disease.
The paper was released on Monday 25th June http://www.health.gov.au/internet/ministers/publishing.nsf/Content/health-mediarel-yr2018-wyatt087.htm
Link to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Program - http://rsph.anu.edu.au/research/groups/epidemiology-policy-and-practice/aboriginal-and-torres-strait-islander-health