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In 2007–08, the proportion of Australians with diabetes who also had cardiovascular disease (CVD) was 58%.

In 2004–05, CVD rates among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with diabetes was 49%.

Why is this an important indicator for diabetes?

Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is a group of diseases of the circulatory system that includes coronary heart disease, stroke, and peripheral vascular disease. A person with diabetes is at greater risk from CVD if they also smoke, don’t get enough exercise, are overweight or obese, or have high blood pressure or high cholesterol. People with diabetes can slow down or delay the onset of CVD by improving their diabetes management and self care.

This indicator shows the prevalence of cardiovascular disease (CVD) among people with diabetes in:

  • the general population
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people
  • people of culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, and
  • people living in different geographic areas.

What are the results?

The general population

In 2007–08, almost 520,000 people with diabetes also had CVD (which is 58% of people with diabetes) (Table 1).

Other population groups

In 2007–08:

  • Over 67,000 (61%) people with diabetes living in outer regional and remote areas had CVD (Table 1). 61% of people with diabetes living in inner regional areas also had CVD, while 56% of people with diabetes living in major cities had CVD.

  • 59% of people with diabetes who were born in Australia also had CVD, while 56% of people with diabetes who were born overseas had CVD.

In 2004–05, the proportion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians with diabetes who had CVD was 49%.

Table 1: Prevalence of cardiovascular disease among people with diabetes, 2007–08
Population groups Per cent
All people with diabetes 57.7
Country of birth
Born in Australia 58.6
Overseas-born population 56.0
Geographic areas
Major cities 55.5
Inner regional 61.2
Outer regional and remote areas 61.3
non-Major cities 61.2

Notes

  1. Crude rates are presented.
  2. Rates are for people with diabetes.
  3. No data are available for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in 2007–08.
  4. The ABS National Health Survey excluded persons living in very remote areas of Australia.

Source: AIHW analysis of ABS NHS 2007–08 (reissue).

What are the data sources?

There are two main data sources:

  • The 2007-08 (reissue) Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) National Health Survey (NHS) (ABS cat. no. 4634.0).
  • The ABS National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Survey (NATSIHS) 2004–05 (ABS cat. no. 4715.0).

How is this indicator calculated?

Prevalence rates of CVD for these groups are crude rates and given as the number of cases of CVD per 100 people with diabetes.

In each of these groups:

  • the general population
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people
  • people from a culturally and linguistically diverse background
  • people living in major cities, regional and remote areas

the rates compare

  • numerator: the number of people with diabetes and CVD (from the NHS/NATSIHS), to
  • denominator: the total number of people with diabetes (from the NHS/NATSIHS).

Are there any data limitations?

  • Trend data are not available for CVD as coding derivations have changed.

  • These data come from self-reported responses to the surveys, which may lead to under- or over-reporting of diabetes and CVD.

  • Differences in collection methods between surveys affect the ways these data can be compared. Changes in public awareness of diabetes over time may also affect this.

  • Country of birth has been used as a proxy for cultural and linguistic diversity. This does not fully represent the complexity of cultural diversity in Australia.

  • Data are currently not complete enough to allow analysis of differences between socio-economic groups.

Definitions

Diabetes is only included in this indicator if people have reported they have been told by a medical practitioner or nurse that they have diabetes. It does not include females with gestational diabetes.

Country of birth has been defined based on the ABS NHS as either Australian-born or overseas-born. Australian-born includes Australia, Norfolk Island and Australian External Territories. Overseas-born includes all other countries/regions and those that were not stated or inadequately described.

Geographic areas have been defined based on Accessibility/Remoteness Index of Australia (ARIA). Three categories are used in this indicator: 'Major cities of Australia', 'Inner regional Australia' and 'Outer regional or Remote Australia' (which is a combination of Outer regional and Remote Australia).

Indigenous status is self-reported.

Cardiovascular disease
Table 2 below illustrates how cardiovascular disease has been defined for this indicator.

Table 2: Definitions of cardiovascular disease
National Health Survey 2007–08 National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Survey 2004–05
Hypertensive disease Hypertensive disease
Tachycardia Tachycardia
Angina Angina
Other ischaemic heart diseases Other ischaemic heart diseases
Cerebrovascular diseases Cerebrovascular diseases
Oedema Oedema and heart failure
Diseases of the arteries, arterioles and capillaries Diseases of the arteries, arterioles and capillaries
Varicose veins Varicose veins
Low blood pressure Low blood pressure
Cardiac murmurs and cardiac sounds Cardiac murmurs and cardiac sounds
Other diseases of the veins, lymphatic vessels, etc Other diseases of the veins lymphatic vessels
Other diseases of the circulatory system Other diseases of circulatory system
Other symptoms & signs involving the circulatory system. Other signs and symptoms involving circulatory system.
Haemorrhoids

Where can I find more information?

AIHW 2007. National indicators for monitoring diabetes: report of the Diabetes Indicators Review Subcommittee of the National Diabetes Data Working Group. Diabetes series no. 6. Cat. no. CVD 38. Canberra: AIHW.

Abbreviations

ABS
Australian Bureau of Statistics
AIHW
Australian Institute of Health and Welfare
CVD
Cardiovascular disease
NATSIHS
National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Survey
NHS
National Health Survey