Cardiovascular risk among urban Aboriginal people

Peter Thompson, P.J. Bradshaw, Margherita Veroni, E.T. Wilkes

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Objective: To describe the results of a program for detecting high cardiovascular risk in an urban Aboriginal community.Design: Cardiovascular risk assessment program conducted between January 1998 and October 1999. Participants completed a questionnaire and underwent a physical assessment and biochemical tests.Participants: 738 self-selected members of the Perth Aboriginal community (332 men, 406 women; age range, 18–79 years).Results: The participants represented approximately a fifth of the Perth Aboriginal population aged 25–64 years (those aged 18–24 years comprised <5% of Aboriginals aged 15–24 years in Perth). Eighty-four per cent fell within National Heart Foundation “high risk” or “highest risk” categories for cardiovascular disease; 15% of men and 6% of women had an absolute risk of a cardiovascular event of over 15% within 10 years. A high proportion of participants reported diabetes, hypertension, smoking, overweight and obesity. A fasting plasma glucose level indicative of diabetes or impaired fasting glucose was found in 8.6% (95% CI, 6.2%–11%) of people not previously known to have diabetes. Obesity and smoking were twice as prevalent in study participants as in the general population. Less than a third of subjects with hypertension and diabetes had attained recommended target levels for blood pressure reduction or glycaemic control, and only a third of those at high risk and one in six of those at highest risk had attained recommended lipid-level targets.Conclusions: A cardiovascular risk assessment program with strong community support in an urban Aboriginal population can identify a significant number of people with high cardiovascular risk who are candidates for intensive risk-factor reduction strategies.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)online - approx 5-20pp
JournalMedical Journal of Australia
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2003


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Thompson, P., Bradshaw, P. J., Veroni, M., & Wilkes, E. T. (2003). Cardiovascular risk among urban Aboriginal people. Medical Journal of Australia, 179(3), online - approx 5-20pp.