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Coronary heart disease (CHD) and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) are leading causes of morbidity and mortality among Indigenous people. These conditions contribute significantly to the burden of disease among Indigenous Australians.
Indigenous Australians were twice as likely to die from CHD and nearly 3 times as likely to die from COPD as non-Indigenous Australians during the period 2007–2011.
Most Indigenous deaths from CHD and COPD occurred before the age of 75 (81% and 69% respectively). The opposite was true for non-Indigenous Australians (24% of CHD deaths and 29% of COPD deaths occurred before the age of 75) (Figure 1).
Source: AIHW National Mortality Database.
The prevalence of several risk factors for CHD and COPD is high in the Indigenous population. In 2012–13:
Indigenous adults were 2.6 times as likely to smoke tobacco daily as were non-Indigenous adults. However, the proportion of Indigenous adults who smoked daily fell from 51% in 2001 to 44% in 2012–13 (Figure 2).
Source: ABS 2013a.
Blood pressure management has improved between 2007–08 and 2010–11, with increases in both the number of Indigenous CHD patients who had a blood pressure test and the number who had a favourable blood pressure result.There has also been an increased uptake of Medicare Benefits Schedule health checks (Figure 3), General Practitioner Management Plans, Team Care Arrangements and Closing the Gap prescriptions in recent years.
Source: AIHW forthcoming.
The rate of Indigenous deaths due to CHD fell by 36% between 2001 and 2011. Non-Indigenous CHD mortality also fell by 35% over this period. The gap in CHD mortality between the 2 population groups fell from 89 deaths per 100,000 population in 2001 to 54 deaths per 100,000 in 2011 (39%).
There was no statistically significant trend for Indigenous deaths due to COPD over the same period.
Coronary heart disease and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease in Indigenous Australians explores the prevalence of these conditions and their risk factors in the Indigenous population, and presents hospitalisation and mortality data for both these conditions.