A new report from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) shows that 1.2 million Australian adults suffered from one or more conditions related to the heart, stroke or vascular disease in 2017-2018. Modifiable risk factors such as smoking, insufficient physical activity and uncontrolled high blood pressure put millions of people at risk.
Today’s release coincides with World Heart Day, the theme of which is â€œUse the Heart to Connectâ€. This year’s theme aims to improve equity, prevention and support within the community.
The report, Heart, Stroke, and Vascular Disease: Australian Facts, covers a range of heart disease, stroke and stroke subtypes, including their impact on different populations, for example, by socio-economic group, isolated areas, and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
There were 58,700 acute coronary events (including heart attack and unstable angina) and 38,600 stroke events in people aged 25 and older in 2018, which equates to approximately 161 and 100 events per day , respectively.
Between 1980 and 2019, the number of deaths from cardiovascular disease decreased by 22%, from 55,800 to 42,300.
Although they still account for 25% of deaths in Australia, age-standardized death rates have fallen by three-quarters over the past 40 years, from 700 to 150 per 100,000 for men and from 452 to 107 per 100,000 for women.
During the same period, the number of stroke deaths decreased by 30%, from 12,100 to 8,400.
“These declines in deaths have been driven by a number of factors, including the reduction of certain risk factors, clinical research, improvements in detection and secondary prevention, and advances in treatment, care and prevention. management, â€said AIHW spokesperson Richard Juckes.
However, the wider impact of heart disease, stroke, and vascular disease on individuals and the healthcare system is substantial and is expected to increase in the future as the population ages. “
Richard Juckes, AIHW spokesperson
The report also shows that certain groups of the Australian population are more affected by cardiovascular disease. People living in lower socioeconomic areas had cardiovascular mortality rates 1.5 times higher than people living in higher socioeconomic areas (age-standardized rates of 158 and 106 percent 000 inhabitants).
Today’s release also includes an analysis of some cardiovascular risk factors: poor diet, insufficient physical activity, smoking, alcohol consumption, overweight (including obesity), uncontrolled high blood pressure, abnormal blood lipids and self-reported diabetes.
The report brings together data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics National Health Surveys conducted between 2014-2015 and 2017-2018. This found that 1 in 3 (31%) adults had 2 of these risk factors in combination, while 57% had 3 or more risk factors, of which 3.6% had 5 or 6 risk factors. Men (62%) were more likely than women (50%) to have 3 or more risk factors in combination.
â€œRisk factors are behaviors or characteristics that increase the likelihood of developing a particular disease. The more risk factors a person has, the greater the risk of developing cardiovascular disease, including coronary heart disease, stroke or angina, is high, â€Mr. Juckes said.
This presents an increased risk of health problems, reduced life expectancy and death â€,
“Despite the risks adults face, substantial progress has been made in improving the cardiovascular health of Australians through prevention and treatment,” said Mr Juckes.
There were 327,000 emergency room presentations for cardiovascular disease in 2019-2020. The majority (43%) were classified as â€œemergencyâ€ and required care within 10 minutes.
Over 107 million prescriptions were dispensed through the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) for cardiovascular drugs, representing one-third (35%) of all drugs prescribed in Australia in 2019-2020.
Today’s report expands on analysis from the Australian Burden of Disease Study 2018, which shows coronary heart disease continues to be the leading cause of the disease burden in Australia.
The AIHW thanks the Heart Foundation and its storytellers for their contribution to the report.
Australian Institute for Health and Welfare (AIHW)