According to the research led by the Aged Care Team at Bankstown-Lidcombe Hospital, Chinese-speaking Australians may smoke and drink less than Australians of English-speaking backgrounds, but they are more likely to suffer from diabetes.

The study followed stroke patients over the age of 65 from Chinese descent and compared them with their English-speaking counterparts. Some of the study subjects came from St George Hospital.

The study aimed to analyze how risk factors for stroke were managed in both cultures, said Daniel Chan, director of aged care and rehabilitation at Bankstown-Lidcombe Hospital.

We found rates of smoking and drinking, both risk factors for stroke, were lower in the Chinese-Australian participants than those from English-speaking backgrounds, he said.

However, the prevalence of diabetes was 20 per cent higher in the stroke patients from Chinese backgrounds.

Eighty per cent of Chinese-Australians surveyed had a history of high blood pressure compared to only 68 per cent of Australians from English-speaking backgrounds.

Fewer Chinese-Australians were getting treatments for high blood pressure and arrhythmia than Australians from English-speaking backgrounds suffering from the same conditions, said Prof Chan.

We also noticed some interesting social differences between the two groups.

Prior to being admitted to hospital, nearly 80 per cent of Chinese-Australian patients were living at home, either with a spouse and/or children.

The number of Australian patients from English-speaking backgrounds who were living alone or in an aged care centre was double that of the Chinese-Australian patients.

These findings confirmed the importance of increasing awareness of stroke symptoms and management of stroke risk-factor among the Chinese-Australians, said Prof Chan.

Prof Chan and his colleagues will be presenting the research papers at the Aged Care Towards Better Care conference on April 30. Please dial 9722 7558 for registration details.