Heart disease hot spots revealed

Earlier this week, the Heart Foundation released its new feature Australian Heart Maps online, which uses heart-related hospital admission data to determine hotspots for heart disease throughout Australia.

The data revealed a disturbing gap between the health of city dwellers compared with residents in regional Australia, showing that the further a person lives from a major city the greater the rate of heart-related hospitalisations. Furthermore, the data also revealed a correlation between access to services – especially for those considered disadvantaged – and the rates of heart-related hospital admissions.

National Heart Foundation chief executive officer, Adjunct Professor John Kelly, believes the map will serve as a valuable tool for creating strategy, planning services and targeting prevention initiatives in areas of greatest need.

“Those regions that rate in the top hotspot areas are regions where a large proportion of residents are of significant disadvantage. This disadvantage includes a person’s access to education, employment, housing, transport, affordable healthy food and social support,” Adj Prof Kelly said. “This contrasts to areas with the lowest rates – particularly the northern suburbs of Sydney, where there is little disadvantage [in] the community.

“There is a five-fold difference of hospital admissions between Northern Territory Outback and the region with the lowest admission rates, North Sydney [and] Hornsby, which highlights the association between remoteness, disadvantage and our heart health,” he said.

The worst

 

Region

State

Heart admissions per 10,000 people

1     

Northern Territory – Outback

NT

161

2     

Queensland – Outback

QLD

100.9

3     

Darwin

NT

79

4     

Ipswich

QLD

77.4

5     

Wide Bay

QLD

75.6

The best

1     

Sydney – North Sydney & Hornsby

NSW

31.3

2     

Sydney – Northern Beaches

NSW

32.9

3     

Sydney – Eastern Suburbs

NSW

33.1

4     

Sydney – Ryde

NSW

34.4

5     

Sydney – Baulkham Hills & Hawkesbury

NSW

35.7

Read more at www.themercury.com.au
Read more at www.heartfoundation.org.au

Opinion: Risk factors must be reduced        

The statistics released this week by the Heart Foundation are damning. You are nearly twice as likely to be hospitalised for a heart event if you live in a very remote area, in comparison to someone that lives in a major city.

If we were able to reduce the outer regional areas from an average of 92.5 heart admissions per 10,000 people down to the city average of 47.1, we would have 3400 fewer hospital admissions per year and 1700 fewer heart attacks.

It’s clear that more needs to be done to improve health services in regional areas, but improving the standard of living and educating those most at risk are how we can make the biggest inroads to reducing regional Australia’s risk factors.

“Along with higher rates of smoking, obesity and physical inactivity, remote Australia experiences higher levels of disadvantage, has poorer access to health services and … access to affordable healthy food, access to education and secure employment,” Adj Prof Kelly said.

Australia’s commitment to funding public healthcare is a core benefit of our great country. More than $18 billion is already budgeted for public hospitals through 2017–18 and, along with our population, this figure will grow in coming years.

Let’s hope that those affected most by heart disease are willing to accept the help offered through future programs, so that we can lower the risk of heart disease for every Australian.

What do you think? Should we be putting money into programs throughout regional areas to decrease the rate of heart-related hospital admissions? Or should that money be focused towards public hospitals across Australia?

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Written by Drew

Starting out as a week of work experience in 2005 while studying his Bachelor of Business at Swinburne University, Drew has never left his post and has been with the company ever since, working on the websites digital needs. Drew has a passion for all things technology which is only rivalled for his love of all things sport (watching, not playing).
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