Addressing the increased prevalence of dementia in Australian Torres Strait Islander comunities

Strivens, E., and Russell, S. (2017) Addressing the increased prevalence of dementia in Australian Torres Strait Islander comunities. Innovation in aging, 1 (S1). p. 933.

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Indigenous Australians have higher rates of chronic disease and poorer health outcomes than the general population. Recently, a fivefold risk of dementia, one of the highest rates worldwide, has been identified in Aboriginal Australians aged 45 years and over (12.4% compared to 2.4%). It is not known if Torres Strait Islanders, who comprise 10% of all Indigenous Australians, share this increased risk of dementia, although high rates of vascular disease, which may increase this risk, are found in these communities. The aim of this study was to assess the prevalence of dementia in the Torres Strait.

A total of 111 Torres Strait residents (34 male) aged 41 to 91 years (M=64.1, SD11.4) underwent a diagnostic assessment by a Geriatrician.

The prevalence of dementia was 11.7%, which was significantly higher than in the general population. All but one were diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease (AD), vascular dementia (VaD) or mixed AD/VaD. Cognitive impairment was present in 31% of the sample and 91% of those with cognitive impairment and 76% of those with normal cognition had at least one vascular risk factor.

Results highlight the need for screening for cognitive impairment and dementia in Australian Indigenous communities aged 45 and over to ensure early diagnosis and intervention for those affected by dementia. The need for a culturally appropriate model of care is also crucial to effectively address this problem and there is a role for all health professionals to actively promote healthy lifestyles across the lifespan to reduce dementia risk.

Item ID: 60325
Item Type: Article (Abstract)
ISSN: 2399-5300
Copyright Information: © The Author 2017. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of The Gerontological Society of America.
Additional Information:

Program Abstracts from the 21st International Association of Gerontology and Geriatrics (IAGG) World Congress

Date Deposited: 18 Sep 2019 01:57
FoR Codes: 11 MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES > 1117 Public Health and Health Services > 111701 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health @ 100%
SEO Codes: 92 HEALTH > 9203 Indigenous Health > 920302 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health - Health Status and Outcomes @ 100%
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