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Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples: Heart health information and resources
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Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples: Heart health information and resources

Heart disease can occur 10 to 20 years earlier among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and can lead to long-term health problems.

Key takeaways

  • Heart disease describes a range of conditions that affect your heart.   
  • Heart disease is the leading cause of death among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, causing 1 in 10 deaths. 
  • Healthy living can reduce the risk of heart disease.  
  • To know your risk of heart disease, it's important to get a regular health check with your doctor or health service.

What is heart disease?

Heart disease is the name for a range of conditions that affect the structure and function of the heart and blood vessels. It includes coronary heart disease, heart failure, valve disease, arrhythmias and blood vessel diseases.  

  • A heart attack occurs when a coronary artery blocks or narrows because of a build-up of fatty plaque.  
  • Heart failure: is a long-term condition where your heart muscle doesn’t pump blood to the rest of your body the way it should.  
  • Valve disease: if you have heart valve disease it means your heart’s valves don’t open or close properly.   
  • Rheumatic Heart Disease (RHD): if you have had acute rheumatic fever (ARF), this can cause swelling and damage to the valves of your heart leading to RHD.  
  • Arrythmias:is a fault in the heart’s electrical system, which affects your heart’s pumping rhythm. 

The good news is some cases of heart disease can be prevented. Things like not smoking, making healthy food choices and moving more can reduce risk.

Learn more about heart disease, click here.   

Learn how the heart works  

To learn more about how the heart works, click here.

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