Predicting your area’s future heart health
Heart disease, heart attack and cardiac arrest are Australia’s number 1 cause of death. As they are more prevalent among the older age groups, Australia’s ageing population has a big impact on this group of diseases, and many areas can expect increases in future. The good news about heart disease though is that it’s also related to controllable lifestyle factors, like obesity, sugar and alcohol consumption and eating a good diet based on fruit and vegetables.
The National Heart Foundation does a lot of work raising awareness of heart disease in the community. The Victorian branch approached .id recently to put together a series of fact sheets on heart disease to help raise awareness of the rate of heart disease and lifestyle risk factors in local communities.
Here is an example, for the Shire of Cardinia, located on Melbourne’s South Eastern outskirts. You may refer to their fact sheet here.
Cardinia’s current rate of 4 types of heart disease, based on hospital and ambulance data for the past 6 years. You can see that the rate of Heart Attack, for instance, is 20.9 per 10,000 population. That is in any given year, about 21 people for every 10,000 will develop heart disease. This is actually relatively low, but that’s because Cardinia is a young area. When adjusted for the age structure of the population, the rate of heart disease is actually 15.6% worse than expected.
This rate has been stable over the past 6 years, while Heart Failure has been increasing in the area.
Why is the rate of heart attack relatively high in Cardinia? This is because of the risk factors. 61.8% of people in Cardinia do not meet the recommended daily consumption of fruit, while 92.2% don’t eat enough vegetables in their diet. Both these are higher than the Victorian average. There is a high rate of smoking and soft-drink consumption as well.
We have used .id’s forecasts to look at the likely future number of cases of various heart diseases in Cardinia. This is what local health workers will need to plan for based on population increase and ageing in the future. For Cardinia, a major growth area, both the number of cases and the rate will increase substantially, if the lifestyle risk factors are not addressed. This can provide valuable information for workers in the public health sphere, and also prompt individuals to do something about their diet and exercise.