APTN National News
Indigenous peoples are more likely to suffer a heart attack than non-Indigenous peoples and at a younger age according to a report released Thursday.
The report looked at available statistics between 2004 and 2011 and found communities with a high Indigenous population had 76 per cent higher rates of heart attacks than communities with low Indigenous peoples.
Most have heart attacks around the age of 64, while non-Indigenous have them closer to 71-years-old according to the study by the Canadian Institute for Health Information.
Heart attack patients were also more likely to have other conditions that complicate their heart disease, such as diabetes, than residents of areas with small Aboriginal populations.
In spite of the need for care, they are less likely to undergo specific cardiac procedures. It may have something to do with the fact they live farther away from hospitals.
More than one third of the patients traveled more than 250 kilometres to get healthcare. While just eight per cent of low-Aboriginal areas had to travel such a distance.
Despite this apparent higher need, however, they are less likely to undergo specific cardiac procedures.
However, residents of areas with a high concentration of Inuit are less likely to have a heart attack and diabetes than those living in remote areas with small Aboriginal populations the study found.
The study found that’s because Inuit have lower rates of high blood pressure and diabetes, something CIHI says are key conditions that increase the risk of developing heart disease.
Also, the Inuit have a diet of fish and marine mammals, which help ward off heart disease.
But there is another reason.
The study only looks at those admitted to hospital.
Inuit sometimes travel more than 500 KM to a hospital.
“The lower rates of hospital admissions for heart attacks may reflect this challenges of reaching a hospital in time. Our study was not able to examine deaths prior to reaching hospital but we believe this is an important part in fully understanding these lower rates of hospital admissions for heart attacks,” the study stated.