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Deaths from cardiovascular disease (CVD) and coronary heart
disease (CHD) have been declining since the late 1960s, resulting
in a substantial saving of lives, and in the extension of life for
the Australian population, according to a report released today by
the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare.
'If death rates for CVD and CHD had remained at their 1968 peak
levels, the number of deaths due to these diseases would have been
about four times as high as the actual number of deaths in 2006,'
said report author Anne Broadbent.
In 2006, an estimated 187,000 Australian lives would have been
lost to CVD, rather than the 45,670 actual deaths, representing a
'saving' of around 140,000 Australian lives in that year alone.
The report also estimates the effect of the decline on the years
of life lost to Australians from premature death, and found that
Australians have benefitted substantially.
'Australians aged 55 to 69 appear to have gained most in terms
of lives 'saved' and years of life extended,' Ms Broadbent
Dr Lyn Roberts, the Heart Foundation's CEO-National said 'While
we are pleased with the gains made, CVD remains the leading cause
of death in Australia accounting for 34% of all deaths in 2006.
'Around 3.7 million Australians, or 19% of the population, have
a long term cardiovascular condition, and CVD continues to have a
major impact in terms of burden of disease and expenditure,' Dr
Between 1968 and 2006, the death rate from CVD fell by 76%, from
831 deaths per 100,000 people to 202 per 100,000.
Over the same period, the death rate from coronary heart disease
(the most common form of CVD) declined from 428 to 102 per
An estimated 90% of Australian adults may have at least one
modifiable risk factor associated with CVD, indicating a potential
for further gains in the future.
The report, Impact of falling cardiovascular disease death
rates: deaths delayed and years of life extended, was funded
by the Heart Foundation.
Dr Lyn Roberts will deliver an address, 'Fighting heart disease:
past success and future challenges' to the National Press Club,
Wednesday 15 April 2009.
Tuesday 7 April 2009
Anne Broadbent, AIHW, 02 6244 1204 or mob. 0418 271 395.
Nicole Osborne, Heart Foundation, 02 9219 2403 or mob. 0432 754
For media copies of the report: Publications
Officer, AIHW, tel. (02) 6244 1032.
Availability: Check the AIHW Publications area
for the availability of Impact of falling
cardiovascular disease death rates: deaths delayed and years of