Australia’s top killer: Data shows disease takes a life every 29 minutes

Oct 23, 2020
Australia's number one killer has been revealed. Source: Getty.

Heart disease remains Australia’s biggest killer after new figures released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) revealed the disease claims the life of one Australian every 29 minutes. Heart disease is an umbrella term for a range of conditions that affect your heart like blood pressure, coronary artery disease, heart attack, heart failure and stroke.

The ABS Causes of Death data reported 18,244 coronary heart disease deaths in 2019, up from 17,533 in 2018. The data also revealed coronary heart disease accounts for more than 10 per cent of all deaths in Australia.

The Heart Foundation’s Director of Health Strategy, Julie Anne Mitchell said the increase in deaths from coronary heart disease is concerning.

“Over about 50 years, there has been a decline in heart disease deaths in Australia, so it is disappointing to see the uptick in the figures released today,” she said.

“This is not a trend we would want to see continue, given the sad toll that heart disease takes on patients and their families. The Heart Foundation is committed to bringing these numbers down. Fifty deaths a day is unacceptably high.

Mitchell continued: “We have seen rises in some risk factors for heart disease, such as for overweight and obesity, as well as a lack of in-roads into others, like physical inactivity and poor nutrition. Add this to our high rates of high blood pressure and cholesterol, and it becomes clear there is still a lot of work to be done in encouraging Australians to understand and reduce their risk.

The good news, however, is that heart disease can largely be prevented by making simple lifestyle changes, she says. While factors such as age, gender, ethnic background and family history can’t be changed, there are plenty of small things you can do to reduce your risk of heart disease and keep your heart healthy.

“This includes seeing your doctor for Medicare-funded heart health check, but recent Heart Foundation research shows that thousands of Aussies with heart disease or at risk of heart disease are putting off health check-ups because of the Coronavirus pandemic,” Mitchell explains.

“The Heart Foundation urges Australians to take heart disease and their heart health seriously. Seeing your GP for a Heart Health Check is your best chance to stay well, stay alive and stay out of hospital.”

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