Heart disease remains top killer


cholesterol: heart on ecg graph

The National Heart Foundation of Australia says the fact that heart disease remains the country’s single leading killer following the release of the 2013 Cause of Death Data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) means there is no room for complacency.

Since 2004, more than 220,000 (a city the size of Hobart) Australians have lost their lives due to heart disease, more than double any other disease or cause.

“Millions of Aussie families are broken every year because of the loss of a loved one due to heart disease,” Mary Barry, National Heart Foundation CEO said.

“One in seven people – our wives, husbands, mothers, fathers, aunts, uncles, brothers, sisters, friends and colleagues will pass away as a result of heart disease,” she says.

“Each day, around 54 Australians die as a result of heart disease, that’s one person every 27 minutes.

“It transcends barriers of gender, culture, and age, it’s the leading cause of death in every developed country,” she says.

Based on the latest data, heart disease killed 19,766 people in 2013. Dementia and Alzheimer’s were the second leading cause of deaths followed by stroke claiming the life of 10,549 people and diabetes which took the life of 4,328 people.

“If government dollars were focussed on keeping people healthy we could reduce the number of preventable deaths from a whole host of chronic diseases.

“There is a moral imperative to do more to save more people from dying prematurely or living a life plagued with illness from chronic disease,” Barry says.

“Each day, more than 400 Australians are admitted to hospital due to heart disease, with more than one quarter of these people aged below 60.

“We know the advancements in early detection, better care, improved technologies, tobacco control, as well as the Heart Foundation’s public education about the warning signs of heart attack have contributed to the drop in deaths.

“As the population ages and some risk factors including high blood cholesterol, high blood pressure, being physically inactive and being overweight become more common or fail to improve, heart disease and stroke will become more prevalent and death rates could further rise again in the years ahead.

“We look forward to working with the Government on solutions,” Barry says.

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