Health Problems Experienced by People of Aboriginal and Torres State Islander Heritage

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As of 2011, the Australian Bureau of Statistics estimated that Indigenous Australians people make up 3% of the total Australian population,  with the median age of Indigenous population younger than the rest of non- Indigenous Australians.

But, Indigenous Australians are much likely to have health issues  at a young age, as recent studies show that they are likely to live with 10 years less that compared to non-Indigenous Australians. The main causes that lead to their health conditions are medical ones, and as a result, community services have been established. Organisations like these provide medical and support services, and they design special programs to improve health and social lives. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples face some specific health conditions such as:

Heart health conditions

Cardiovascular diseases affect a great number of people. The most common heart problem is coronary heart disease,  the side effects of which include high blood pressure, stroke, and heart failure. A number of reports indicate these heart health problems, and some studies show that more women than men have CVD.

Cancer

In 2005-2009, the overall rate of new cases (incidence rate) of cancer was slightly lower for Indigenous people than for non-Indigenous people . Incidence rates vary depending on the type of cancer. Indigenous people had higher incidence rates than non-Indigenous people for: liver, cervical cancer (for women) lung, cancer of the uterus (for women) and pancreatic cancer.

Diabetes

One out of ten Indigenous Australians have diabetes, with  9.6% with diabetes and 1.5% with diabetes newly diagnosed from test results.

High levels of glucose in the blood cause diabetes, and treatment differs  depending on it’s stage and type. Women more than men are more likely to develop diabetes, and more often than not, those living in remote areas discover that they have diabetes when it’s in an advanced stage.

 

Kidney health problems

Indigenous Australians also  have  health issues affecting their kidneys.  Kidneys are responsible for removing extra water and impurities  from the body, and it keeps the blood clean. When they do not work properly, all the waste from the body builds up in the blood, and affects the body. If untreated,  these will develop into end-stage renal disease, and survival is less likely unless they have a kidney transplant, or  is treated with regular dialysis.

These medical conditions,  if treated properly and if education and community-wide information dissemination are  done, can be prevented and avoid further complications. It should be treated as early as possible.

 

Organisations like DDACL (link to DDACL site)  do provide these vital information on health services to Indigenous Australians.