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Overcoming cardiovascular disease in Indigenous Australians

Alex Brown and Leonard Kritharides
Med J Aust 2017; 206 (1): 10-12. || doi: 10.5694/mja16.00693

Despite the profound impact of cardiovascular disease on Indigenous Australians, much remains to be achieved

Cardiovascular disease (CVD), including heart disease and stroke, is the major cause of premature death experienced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians.1 Our understanding of CVD, its causes and treatment, has improved dramatically over the past 40 years, resulting in substantial reductions in age- and sex-adjusted mortality.2 Unfortunately, the disparities in cardiovascular health between the overall population and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have persisted. Perhaps the most concerning feature is the age at which CVD strikes among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people — between 10 and 20 years younger than seen in other Australians.3 The emotional, societal and economic implications of premature CVD mortality and disability are devastating and, in many ways, impossible to measure and fully comprehend.

  • Alex Brown1,2
  • Leonard Kritharides3,4

  • 1 South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute, Adelaide, SA
  • 2 University of South Australia, Adelaide, SA
  • 3 Concord Hospital, Sydney, NSW
  • 4 ANZAC Research Institute, Sydney, NSW


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