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From the Medical Desk – CVD

When most of us think about cardiovascular disease, or CVD, most of us think it’s a problem exclusive to the elderly – but it affects Australians of all ages.

The Australian Institute of Health & Welfare (AIHW, 2011), recently revealed the main types of CVD affecting Australians were coronary heart disease, stroke and heart failure associated with cardiomyopathy.

The latest Australian statistics

  • One in three Australians die of CVD. It doesn’t discriminate by age, affecting both young and old.1
  • An estimated 3.7 million Australians suffer a long-term cardiovascular condition.1
  • About 3,000 people were on a heart transplant waiting list.1
  • Although the overall rate of CVD-related deaths had dropped by 80 per cent since the 1960s and continues to fall, almost 50,000 deaths due to CVD were reported in 2008 – 34 per cent of all deaths that year.2
  • In 2007-08, CVD was the main cause of 475,000 hospitalisations and a contributing cause in a further 797,000. Hospitalisation rates also showed slowly declining trends in recent years.2
  • Costing around $5.9 billion in 2004-05, CVD was then the most expensive disease group in Australia.2
  • Death rates among males are higher than females for most CVD-related conditions, up to twice the rate in certain cases. However CVD caused a greater total number of female deaths, as Australian females typically live longer than males and the risk of developing a CVD-related illness greatly increases with age.2

1. Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute, 2011
2. Australian Institute of Health & Welfare, Cardiovascular disease: Australian facts 2011.

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