Disadvantaged “twice as likely” to suffer heart problems

Peter Terlato 17 August 2016

Heart health insurance in hand

Heart-related hospital admissions highest in Aussie outback.

Underprivileged Australians are at a much greater risk of being admitted to hospital for heart health issues than those with the greatest socio-economic advantages, according to new data.

The Heart Foundation has compiled a new heart-related hospital admissions data map, identifying substantial gaps between disadvantaged Aussies and those with access to services such as preventative health care, education, insurance, secure employment, affordable living and social support.

The research also reveals the more obvious correlations between heart admissions and obesity, smoking and physical inactivity.

The map shows how indicators for heart disease are distributed throughout Australia's hospital network.

Both the Northern Territory and Queensland's outback regions have the highest number of heart admissions with an age-standised rate (ASR) of 161.00 and 100.9 (per 10,000 people) respectively. Darwin follows at 79.0.

Those living in major cities had an ASR of 47.1, while rates for people residing in inner regional areas is 53.1, outer regional 57.6, remote 62.2 and very remote 92.5.

Areas of Queensland made up 60% of the top 20 hotspot regions for heart-related admissions.

The regions with the least amount of admissions were North Sydney & Hornsby and Sydney's northern beaches. Inner city areas of Melbourne, Adelaide and Brisbane also fared well.

"There is a five-fold difference of hospital admissions between Northern Territory Outback and the region with the lowest admission rates North Sydney & Hornsby, which highlights the association between remoteness, disadvantage and our heart health," Heart Foundation CEO John Kelly said.

"Australians living in the most disadvantaged areas are more than twice as likely to be admitted to hospital for a heart event than those living in the most advantaged areas," the report said.

Picture: Shutterstock

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