One Australian dies every 10 minutes from cardiovascular disease and 90% are at immediate risk.
According to a new study by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare 13 million Australians undertake one or more behaviors which lead to developing risk factors.
The report, Living dangerously: Australians with multiple risk factors for cardiovascular disease, discusses the reasons for coronary complications being the highest cause of mortality in Australia.
The publication talks about what people do to develop cardiovascular disease – these are otherwise known as risk factors. The nine major factors include tobacco smoking, physical inactivity, low fruit consumption, low vegetable consumption, risky alcohol consumption, high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, obesity and diabetes.
As the patient’s list of risk factors increase, the occurrence of heart attack, stroke, angina or atherosclerosis (clogging of the arteries) rises dramatically.
Those experiencing five or more risk factors are 60% more likely to have angina than those without. The people who have developed risk factors are 30% more likely to have a heart attack or a stroke; and twice as likely to have atherosclerosis.
Fortunately, improvement is possible.
This is evident with the progress made in the last 35 years. Age-adjusted mortality for cardiovascular disease has dropped by 60 – 70%. This is due to a decline in the rates of both major and minor cardio events, which can be attributed to a decreased prevalence of risk factors and availability of better treatment.
However, as heart disease remains the highest cause of mortality in this country, it is relevant for every Australian to look to their lifestyle habits and make necessary changes.