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All cardiovascular disease

An estimated 4.2 million (22%) Australian adults aged 18 years and over had 1 or more cardiovascular diseases in 2014–15, based on self-reported data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) 2014–15 National Health Survey. This includes conditions such as coronary heart disease, stroke and hypertensive disease.

Information based on self-reported data relies on survey participants being aware of and accurately reporting their health conditions. Estimates based on self-reported data are not likely to be as accurate as data based on clinical records or measurements.

Age and sex

In 2014–15, the prevalence of CVD among adults (based on self-reported data):

  • Was similar for men and women (22%).
  • Increased with age—half (53%) of 65–74 year olds and two-thirds (66%) of those aged 75+ had CVD (Figure 1).

Figure 1: Prevalence of CVD, among persons aged 18 and over, by age and sex, 2014–15

The vertical bar chart shows that CVD prevalence increased with age in 2014–15. For those aged 55 and over, men had consistently higher rates than women—for example for those aged 65–74, 58% of men self-reported CVD compared to 49% of women.

Note: Based on self-reported data.

Source: AIHW analysis of ABS Microdata: National Health Survey (NHS), 2014–15 (Data table).

Inequalities

In 2014–15, the prevalence of CVD (based on self-reported data) among adults varied by remoteness and socioeconomic disadvantage (Figure 2). Proportions were:

  • Highest in Inner regional (25%) areas compared with Outer regional and remote (22%) and Major cities (21%).
  • Highest in the lowest socioeconomic group (25%) compared with those in the highest socioeconomic group (20%).

Figure 2: Prevalence of CVD, among persons aged 18 and over, by remoteness and socioeconomic group, 2014–15

The horizontal bar chart shows that in 2014–15, rates of CVD were higher in Inner regional areas than other areas of Australia for both men and women. Rates of CVD were highest in the lowest socioeconomic group (group 1) (25% each for men and women) compared with those in the highest socioeconomic group (group 5) (22% for men and 19% for women).

Notes

  1. Based on self-reported data.
  2. Age-standardised to the 2001 Australian Standard Population.
  3. Please see data table for information on remoteness and socioeconomic group classifications.

Source: AIHW analysis of ABS Microdata: National Health Survey (NHS), 2014–15 (Data table).

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander

Around 1 in 4 Indigenous Australian adults (27% or 74,900 people) had CVD, based on self-reported data from the ABS 2012–13 Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Survey. CVD was more common in females than males (44,300 and 30,600, respectively; or 59% and 41%).

Indigenous Australian adults were more likely to have CVD than their non-Indigenous counterparts (27% and 21%, respectively, after taking into account differences in the age structure of the populations).

Coronary heart disease (CHD)

An estimated 645,000 Australians aged 18 and over (3% of the adult population) had CHD in 2014–15, based on self-reported data. Of those with CHD, 282,000 had experienced angina while 472,000 had a heart attack or another form of CHD (a person may report more than one disease).

Prevalence of CHD:

  • Was around twice as high among men (5%) than women (2%).
  • Increased rapidly with age—around 9 times as high in people aged 75 and over as in those aged 45–54 (17% and 2%).

In 2013, an estimated 65,300 people aged 25 and over had an acute coronary event in the form of a heart attack or unstable angina—around 180 events every day, based on hospitalisations and mortality data. Rates of acute coronary events:

  • Were twice as high in men than women (523 and 246 per 100,000 population) (Figure 3).
  • Have declined rapidly by 29% between 2007 and 2013 (from 534 to 379 events per 100,000).
  • Were 2.5 times as high among Indigenous Australians compared with Other Australians (955 and 382 per 100,000).

Figure 3: Trends in acute coronary events, among persons aged 25 and over, by sex, 2007 to 2013

The line chart shows that rates of acute coronary events have fallen steadily between 2007 and 2013 among those aged 25 years and over—from 729 to 523 events per 100,000 population for men and 358 to 246 per 100,000 for women. Men had consistently higher rates of acute coronary events than women over the period.

Notes

  1. Age-standardised to the 2001 Australian Standard Population.
  2. Acute coronary events include heart attack (acute myocardial infarction) and unstable angina.

Source: AIHW analysis of AIHW National Mortality Database and AIHW National Hospital Morbidity Database (Data table).

Stroke

In 2012, around 377,000 Australians (2% of the population) had had a stroke at some time in their lives, based on self-reported data from the ABS 2012 Survey of Disability, Ageing and Carers.

Prevalence of stroke was:

  • Higher in males (2%) than females (1%).
  • More common in older age groups—almost three in four (71%) people who had a stroke were aged 65 and over. Proportions were highest for those aged 85 and over—3 times as high as for those aged 65–74 (15% and 5%, respectively).

In 2014, there were an estimated 35,200 stroke events in Australia—almost 100 every day, based on hospital and mortality data.

  • Males were more likely to have had a stroke event than females (147 and 111 per 100,000 population, respectively) (Figure 4).
  • The rate of stroke events fell by 27% between 2000 and 2014, from 176 to 128 events per 100,000.

Figure 4: Trends in stroke events, by sex, 2000 to 2014

The line chart shows that rates of stroke events have fallen consistently between 2000 and 2014 for both men and women aged 25 and over—from 201 to 147 events per 100,000 population for men and 155 to 111 per 100,000 population for women. Men had slightly higher rates of stroke events than women over the period.

Note: Age-standardised to the 2001 Australian Standard Population.

Source: AIHW analysis of AIHW National Mortality Database and AIHW National Hospital Morbidity Database (Data table).

Heart failure

An estimated 111,000 people aged 18 and over had heart failure in 2014–15, based on self-reported data from the ABS 2014–15 National Health Survey. This corresponds to approximately 0.6% of the adult population. Heart failure predominantly affects older Australians. Two-thirds of adults with heart failure (72,800 people) were aged 65 years and over.

Using self-reported data to estimate the number of people with heart failure may under estimate the true burden of this disease as the early stages are only mildly symptomatic. Heart failure and cardiomyopathy have a considerable impact on the health of Australians. For more information see Hospital care for heart failure and cardiomyopathy.

Rheumatic heart disease (RHD)

During the 4-year period 2010–2013, there were 743 new or recurrent cases of ARF among Indigenous Australians in the Northern Territory, Western Australia and Queensland combined. Children aged 5–14 accounted for half (52%) of these cases. The rate of new cases of ARF among Indigenous Australians was 53 per 100,000 population, compared with less than 1 case per 100,000 among Other Australians.

In 2013–2014 there were 2,700 registered cases of RHD among Indigenous people in the Northern Territory, Western Australia and Queensland combined―1,474 and 305 registered cases among Indigenous people in the Northern Territory and Western Australia at 31 December 2013, and 921 registered cases in Queensland at 1 July 2014. Indigenous people accounted for 89% of registered cases of RHD in Queensland and 94% of cases in the Northern Territory. Data for non-Indigenous Australians from Western Australia was not available (Data table).

Congenital heart disease

Over 2,000 babies are born with congenital heart disease every year—8 in every 1,000 live births. Among babies born in Australia in 2003 (excluding the Northern Territory), the most commonly reported congenital heart conditions included ventricular septal defect (630 cases), patent ductal arteriosus (406), atrial septal defect (402), pulmonary stenosis (134) and transposition of the great vessels (103). The most recent national data on the incidence or prevalence of congenital heart disease is from 2003 Australian Congenital Anomalies Monitoring System.

For more information, see Cardiovascular disease, diabetes and chronic kidney disease: Australian facts: prevalence and incidence and Cardiovascular disease, diabetes and chronic kidney disease: Australian facts: Indigenous Australians.