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  • Subject Name : Nursing

Australian Indigenous Health

Table of Contents


Extend of the chosen health issue.

Historic and contemporary reasons.

Government/non-Government health interventions that aim to close the.



Introduction to Cardiovascular Diseases

One of the major health concerns for all Australians Cardiovascular diseases (CVD) is in regards to the levels as well as impacts that are observed to be much greater in case of Aboriginal as well as Torres Strait Islander individuals in comparison to those belonging from non-Indigenous groups. CVD is considered as the leading cause for overall death, in terms of the Aboriginal along with the individuals of “Torres Strait Islander”. On the other hand, a significant amount of progress in regards to providing better cardiac care is intended for Aboriginal as well as the individuals of Torres Strait Islander. It is in terms of the contextual medical and other reformatory improvements that can access the health services along with help in the reduction of the mortality rate due to cardiac conditions.

CVD as in the form of the disease is instrumental in covering all types of diseases that tend to affect the heart along with the blood vessels. The associated factors of risk responsible for the development of CVD include the likes of being obese and other addictive bad habits. Atherosclerosis refers to the process that includes furring in context to the arteries owing to the deposition of fat concentrates on the blood vessels from the inner side of the walls. It is said to be the only reason that leads to CVD. At present times CVD is considered as the third leading cause of the disease that burden the whole of Australia.

Extend of The Chosen Health Issue

As observed in figure 1, CVD disease is considered as the primary reason for hospitalization accounting to 4% of all types of separations amongst the indigenous individuals spread across Australian continent in the year 2005–06. It is not the number along with the costs that are associated with the CVD hospitalizations, but it refers to a much higher hospitalizations rate when it is compared to the non-indigenous Australian groups. Though in case of CHD, all the indigenous individuals were 2-4 times more likely to be hospitalized in the same year, and in case of RHD, more likely it lies in between of 8-13 times.

Disability and reduced quality of life standard amongst all Australians due to CVD and is the main contributors to mortality rates. RHD causes death rates difference between Aboriginals and Torres Strait Islander amongst all CVDs that includes the non-Indigenous individuals. There is a difference in between these two in terms of CVD mortality with a considerable amount of high impact amongst the younger and middle-aged “Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander” adults. Substantially CVD contributes to poor health and also reduces life expectancy rates (Le Grande et al. 2019).

As stated by Brown & Kritharides (2017), the levels, as well as impacts of CHD that includes the stroke, heart failure along with other forms of CVD, are higher in favour of Indigenous individuals, particularly amongst the younger and middle-aged adult groups. The Indigenous individuals die from CVD than those of the non-Indigenous individuals. Most of the Premature along with preventable CVD deaths contribute toward the mortality gap that lies in between “Indigenous and that of the non-Indigenous individuals”. It accounts for more or less 24 per cent of the total gap. As commented by Thompson et al. (2018), the circulatory conditions contribute highly toward most of the diseases that arise the burden of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander individuals (Crinall et al. 2017).

The burden is caused using cardiovascular disease is considered to be preventable. Major types of adaptable risk factors that increase the risk of CVD’s include habit of smoking, and inadequate consumption of fruits along with vegetables, less of physical activity, high blood pressure, raised levels of cholesterol in the blood, lastly not to forget the busy schedule that causes depression as well as diabetes in human bodies. Other types of risk factors that uncontrollable by any human include the factor of age, gender, family history along with ethnicity (Brown, 2012).

Disturbingly, the rate associated with the death rate of coronary heart diseases tends to have been falling in recent years with slower mortality rates amongst the younger age group from 34 to that of 54 years. In between of the year starting from 1998-99 to that of 2009-10, the overall hospitalizations rate in context to CVD observed to have considerable fell from 13percent, with a steep decline in favour of most major causes of CVD’s. As per the most recent form of nationalized data, it was instrumental in analyzing and describing the contextual patterns along with the trends associated with the hospitalization as well as the death rates due to CVD (Barr et al. 2017). It was with some additional amount of analysis by several Indigenous groups and was found that CVD has a direct impact on the status that includes the remoteness and severely impacts the different socioeconomic groups. While concentrating on the incidence of case-fatality it was derived from the majority of coronary events that have also been examined. Even though death rates associated with CVD have been on the decline that too, steadily, in Australian continent since the late ’60s, CVD is still considered as accountable for a larger death’s proportion amounting to at least 35% as observed in the year 2009 (Brown, 2012).

Historic and Contemporary Reasons

There are several historic and contemporary reasons for the development of CVD in the indigenous populations. The progressive spread and arrival of the Europeans settlers commenced in late 18th Century had significantly impacted Indigenous individuals’ lifestyles. The Indigenous individuals’ daily activity of finding food and resources, subjecting socio-cultural practices along with sustaining of the spiritual relation to country changed over time (Calabria et al. 2018). Chronic conditions with modifiable cardiovascular disease risk factors due to changes in the physical and nutritious activity of Indigenous individuals led to CVD and diabetes, in the late 20th Century. Psychosocial issues as well as factors that are impacting on socio-emotional wellbeing act as risk factors and contribute toward higher prevalence for CVD amongst the Indigenous individuals. The historical health disadvantages that are experienced by Indigenous individuals can be considered as a continuation of disadvantages that owes to current structural along with social factors. It is embodied and termed as the determinants of social health. Economic opportunities, in broader terms, the physical infrastructure along with the social conditions that influence the health as a whole associated with communities, as well as the societies at an individual level (Calabria et al. 2018).

All the mentioned factors are specifically evident in terms of measures like that of employment, income, housing, along with access to services, and social networking’s. In addition, it is instrumental in connecting with the definition of land, racism, as well as even relates to incarceration. In the course of going through or evidencing all the mentioned measures, Indigenous individuals tend to suffer a substantial amount of disadvantage. Though it’s important in the development of an approach that leads to an understanding of Indigenous health factors associated with Indigenous individuals. Besides, it throws some light on the fact that how these individuals help themselves to conceptualize health. As it is because these individuals do not have a separate term in defining ‘health’ in their language as they think that it is well understood in terms of western society (Mills et al. 2017).

It is as observed that the traditional Indigenous health perspective is holistic. It tends to encompass everything important in an individual’s life that includes their land, physical body, environment and others. Alongside it, these concepts are not seen as an isolated form of ‘clinical’ matter. This, in turn, conceptualizes health that has much more in common in relation to the model that describes the social determinants (Brown, 2012).

Australia’s Indigenous group demonstrates some sort of facts that defines the high rate of CVD mortality over the last two decades. However, certain improvements were made in the medical field but were unable to keep pace with the needs as demonstrated by Australia's non-indigenous population. The result of which had led to a high amount of mortality differentials that was instrumental in creating a relative disadvantage in this field and is further growing rather than that of getting contracted (Grant & Draper, 2018).

It has been made clear from the below-mentioned facts:

  • Almost 12 % of the indigenous individuals are reported to have “long term hypertension most common to cardiovascular conditions”
  • There are an estimated 1.2 % of indigenous Australians that are reporting a prior form of diagnosis associated with CHD
  • This CHD is relevant in terms of percentage that varies from 5 to 11% amongst the indigenous Australians
  • reporting a prior form of diagnosis associated with CHD was observed to be seen in between the ages group of 45 to 65 years
  • Most importantly, it was observed that the individuals with over the 55 years of age, suffering from heart or any types of circulatory conditions.

Government/non-Government Health Interventions that Aim to Close

Many healthcare policies, along with contextual strategies, and informative programs were implemented aiming toward the improvement of Indigenous health. It was found to be essential in monitoring and evaluating the program’s effectiveness, focusing on CVD, with a higher incidence amongst the target Indigenous Australians in comparison to others and is the leading morbidity and mortality cause (Hua et al. 2017).

A small amount of improvement is observed in health outcomes equity and extensive persistence of disparity although CVD is preventable and a major contributor of worldwide “morbidity, mortality and health disparity”. There is a substantial form of Australian evidence that contributes to high morbidity and mortality rates amongst “Indigenous Australians”.

Establishment of nationwide steps to reduce cardiovascular risk factors there is a prevalence of bad habits and associative CVD factors that include rates of smoking, eminent cholesterol, hypertension, and deprived dietary behaviours. Obesity and diabetes prevalence impart a rise in future CVD incidence and mortality rates (Merone et al. 2019).

As stated by Merone et al. (2019), a limited amount of data is there in accessing and manipulation of appropriate therapies in cardiovascular diseases for the indigenous Australians. Expert services of cardiology access, with suitable interventional diagnostics as well as sensitive care modalities, are limited in context to the remote and regional indigenous population-based areas. With the availability of health care facilities, indigenous Australians are receiving cardiac procedures in comparison to non-indigenous individuals during hospitalization. All are with disparities relative to access, outcomes and receipt, as of care after the acute health events relative to coronary factions. Indigenous individuals suffer more (that is 3times) from the foremost coronary events of diseases than the non-indigenous populace of the nation. They die out of CHD in hospitals more (40%), also experiences “case fatality rates” 1.5 times more than that of the non-indigenous populace of the nation.

Conclusion on Australian Indigenous Health

To finish with it will be right to state that, CVD disease seems to remain the prime cause of a significant health problem in context to Australian populace despite a decreasing rate of death as well as that of hospitalization. The results of the paper tend to summarize the up-to-date Australian cardiovascular statistics at present time are presented here. Despite the significant amount of improvements in the sector of cardiovascular health associated to the Australians in modern times, CVD is considered to be continuing to impose a considerable amount of heavy burden on the population in multiple ways. These include all the terms that are associated with illness, aspects of disability along with the causing of premature death. In terms of “Direct health care expenditure” on behalf of CVD, it has exceeded the amount that was invested in any other types of disease group. However, this study was very important to understand the prevalence of diseases in the indigenous population and the reason behind it. It is very significant for government institutions and non-government institutions to subject policies for their betterment.

References for Australian Indigenous Health

Barr, E. L. M., Cunningham, J., Tatipata, S., Dunbar, T., Kangaharan, N., Guthridge, S., ... & Maple‐Brown, L. J. (2017). Associations of mortality and cardiovascular disease risks with diabetes and albuminuria in urban Indigenous Australians: the DRUID follow‐up study. Diabetic medicine34(7), 946-957.

Brown, A. (2012). Addressing cardiovascular inequalities among indigenous Australians. Global Cardiology Science and Practice2012(1), 2.

Brown, A., & Kritharides, L. (2017). Overcoming cardiovascular disease in Indigenous Australians. Medical Journal of Australia206(1), 10-12.

Calabria, B., Korda, R. J., Lovett, R. W., Fernando, P., Martin, T., Malamoo, L., ... & Banks, E. (2018). Absolute cardiovascular disease risk and lipid‐lowering therapy among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians. Medical Journal of Australia209(1), 35-41.

Crinall, B., Boyle, J., Gibson‐Helm, M., Esler, D., Larkins, S., & Bailie, R. (2017). Cardiovascular disease risk in young Indigenous Australians: a snapshot of current preventive health care. Australian and New Zealand journal of public health41(5), 460-466.

Grant, R., & Draper, N. (2018). The importance of Indigenous Health Liaison Officers and family meetings to improve cardiovascular outcomes in Indigenous Australians. Australian and New Zealand journal of public health42(5), 499-500.

Hua, X., McDermott, R., Lung, T., Wenitong, M., Tran-Duy, A., Li, M., & Clarke, P. (2017). Validation and recalibration of the Framingham cardiovascular disease risk models in an Australian Indigenous cohort: Does the current Framingham risk calculator accurately estimate true CVD risk for Indigenous Australians?.

Le Grande, M., Jackson, A. C., Ski, C. F., Thompson, D. R., & Brown, A. (2019). Depression, Cardiovascular Disease and Indigenous Australians. In Culture, Diversity and Mental Health-Enhancing Clinical Practice (pp. 167-184). Springer, Cham.

Merone, L., McDermott, R., Mein, J., Clarke, P., & McDonald, M. (2019). Primary Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease in Minority Indigenous Populations: A Systematic Review. Heart, Lung and Circulation.

Mills, K., Gatton, M. L., Mahoney, R., & Nelson, A. (2017). ‘Work it out’: evaluation of a chronic condition self-management program for urban Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander individuals, with or at risk of cardiovascular disease. BMC Health Services Research17(1), 680.

Thompson, G. N., Gee, C., Talley, A. C., & Nicholas, J. (2018). Indigenous health: one gap is closed. The Medical Journal of Australia209(1), 14-15.

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