Heart disease is still the leading cause of death in Australia, and for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people it can occur 10 to 20 years earlier and lead to long-term health problems.

This Heart Week (1 – 7 May), the Heart Foundation is encouraging all Australians to get a heart health check, check your blood pressure, and use the Heart Age Calculator to understand your risk of heart disease.

There has been a decline (61%) in deaths from circulatory diseases between 1998 and 2018 for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

However, heart disease is still a major contributor to the gap in life expectancy between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and non-Indigenous Australians.  

The Heart Foundation is working together with RHD (Rheumatic Heart Disease) Australia to improve health education in Indigenous communities.

Noongar woman and RHD Australia director Vicki Wade acknowledged the barriers to healthy living Indigenous people can face, such as services not being available, services being too far away, cost, a lack of affordable and culturally appropriate housing, and food insecurity but urged all mob to get a 715 health check as soon as possible.

You can listen Vicki Wade’s interview here: