More research needed into heart health of African-Australians

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More research needed into heart health of African-Australians
More research needed into heart health of African-Australians

Africa-Press – Angola. A cardiologist in Australia has called for more research into the high rate of heart disease in the African-Australian community.

His call coincides with a new national health initiative that aims to include the number of African-Australian included in clinical research.

Jane Chimungeni-Brassington, a senior environmental assessment officer of African descent, said she was always feeling tired until a sharp pain in her chest last April saw her seek medical advice.

“I realised that I could not really continue my physical activities the way I had always done, and I was getting tired very easily, so I had to take a lot of breaks, even at work,” she said.

At the hospital, doctors told her she had had several small heart attacks and she was kept in for further tests to determine her heart was ok.

Chimungeni-Brassington is not the only person of African heritage who has experienced such health problems.

Adelaide-based cardiologist, Dr Chukwudiebube Ajaero, said it is a common trend in this community.

“What I have noted in the African patients that I have interacted with, seems to be that of greater severity of these conditions and greater suffering.”

“I felt that if we start off with simple health education – talks, community events and other things – it will help to sensitise the African community in Australia,” he said.

Ajaero believes not enough research is being done on the heart health of African-Australians, and has launched the country’s first heart health initiative focusing on this community.

Experts in the field said this could lead to greater awareness and better treatment for African-Australians.

“We know for example that among the populations in the US of Black Americans who came from West Africa, they’re more sensitive to salt, more likely to get hypertension and stroke for example. Now that might apply to our populations but we don’t really know until we look,” said Dr Garry Jennings of the Heart Foundation.

The Australian federal government has allocated over US$4 million to finance a national action plan.

Chimungeni-Brassington said this was good news, as more research will help people like her lead healthier lives.

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