Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people
Burden of disease estimates are available for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians for the year 2011 (AIHW 2016):
- CVD accounted for 12% (24,000 DALY) of total burden in Indigenous Australians in 2011 (13% males, 11% females), making it the disease group with the third greatest contribution, behind mental and substance use disorders (19%) and injuries (including suicide) (15%)
- coronary heart disease accounted for 58% of CVD DALY and stroke 14%. In terms of overall DALY, coronary heart disease caused the most of any disease or injury (7% of total DALY) and stroke ranked 15th (2% of total DALY)
- 88% of the burden from CVD among Indigenous Australians was fatal, and 12% non-fatal. The disease that had the highest proportion of fatal burden among Indigenous Australians was cardiomyopathy (98% fatal)
- the rate of DALY for CVD among Indigenous males was 2.6 times that of non-Indigenous males, compared with 3.2 times for Indigenous and non-Indigenous females
- CVD was responsible for 19% of the total health gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians
- the rate of DALY for rheumatic heart disease among Indigenous Australians was 6.6 times as high as the rate among non-Indigenous Australians (2.8 and 0.4 DALY per 1,000 population). The rate for CHD was 3.1 times as high (41.3 and 13.4 DALY per 1,000 population).
Contribution of risk factors
A portion of burden of disease is preventable, being due to modifiable health risk factors. The Australian Burden of Disease Study 2018 has estimated the disease burden which can be attributed to these modifiable risk factors (AIHW 2021).
Of the total burden of CVD in Australia in 2018, 68% was attributable to the risk factors included in the study.
The leading risk factors contributing to the total CVD burden in 2018 include high blood pressure (36%), dietary risks (31%), overweight (including obesity) (22%), high cholesterol (21%) and tobacco use (11%) (Figure 4).
Note that as each risk factor was analysed separately, percentages cannot be added together, and do not add up to the joint effect of all risk factors.
Figure 4: Proportion of cardiovascular disease DALY attributed to selected risk factors, 2018