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Adv Chronic Kidney Dis. 2005 Jan;12(1):64-70.

Kidney and related chronic disease profiles and risk factors in three remote Australian Aboriginal communities.

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Centre for Chronic Disease, Department of Medicine, The University of Queensland, Herston, Queensland, Australia.


Morbidities and deaths from noncommunicable chronic diseases are greatly increased in remote Australian Aboriginal communities, but little is known of the underlying community-based health profiles. We describe chronic-disease profiles and their risk factors in 3 remote communities in the Northern Territory. Consenting adults (18+ years of age) in 3 communities participated in a brief history and examination between 2000 and mid-2003 as part of a systematic program to improve chronic-disease awareness and management. Participation was 67%, 128%, and 62% in communities A, B, and C, respectively with a total of 1070 people examined. Current smokers included 41% of females and 72% of males. Most men were current drinkers, but most women were not. Parameters of body weight differed markedly by community, with mean body mass index (BMI) varying from 21.4 to 27.9 kg/m2 . Rates of chronic diseases were excessive but differed markedly; an almost threefold difference in the likelihood of any morbidity existed between communities A and C. Rates increased with age, but the greatest numbers of people with morbidities were in the middle-aged group. Most people had multiple morbidities with tremendous overlap. Hypertension and kidney disease appear to be early manifestations of the integrated chronic-disease syndrome, while diabetes is a late manifestation or complication. Substantial numbers of new cases of disease were identified by testing, and blood pressure improved in treated people with hypertension. Wide variations occur in body habitus, risk factors, and chronic-disease rates among communities, but an overwhelming need for effective smoking interventions exists in all. Systematic screening is useful in identifying high-risk individuals, most at early treatable stages there. Findings are very important for estimating current treatment needs, future burdens of disease, and for needs-based health services planning. Resources required will vary according to the burden of disease.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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