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released: 25 Mar 2015 author: AIHW media release

This report is a series of 5 reports by the National Centre for Monitoring Vascular Diseases at the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare that describe the combined burden of cardiovascular disease (CVD), diabetes and chronic kidney disease (CKD). This report on risk factors presents the latest statistics on the behaviours and characteristics that increase the likelihood of a person developing these chronic diseases. It also describes risk factors among people who already have CVD, diabetes or CKD. It examines age and sex characteristics and variations across population groups, including by geographical location and socioeconomic disadvantage.

ISSN 22041397; ISBN 978-1-74249-692-4; Cat. no. CDK 004; 108pp.; $41

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Summary

Cardiovascular disease, diabetes and chronic kidney disease-Australian facts: risk factors is the fourth in a series of national reports by the National Centre for Monitoring Vascular Diseases at the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare.

It describes health risk factors and their associations with cardiovascular disease (CVD), diabetes and chronic kidney disease (CKD) using data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics 2011-12 Australian Health Survey. Health risk factors are behaviours or characteristics that increase the likelihood of a person developing a disease. People with multiple risk factors have markedly increased risks.

Risk factors also influence disease severity and reduce the ability to optimise care for people who already have CVD, diabetes or CKD. Healthy lifestyle choices can both reduce disease occurrence and improve disease management.

How many adults had risk factors?

  • For behavioural risk factors-health-related behaviours- in 2011-12, 95% of adults did not consume recommended amounts of fruit and vegetables in their diets, 56% were inactive or insufficiently active, 20% exceeded lifetime alcohol risk guidelines and 16% smoked daily.
  • For biomedical risk factors-risk factors present in the body- 63% were overweight or obese, 63% had dyslipidaemia (abnormal amounts of lipids such as cholesterol in the blood), 32% had high blood pressure (including 22% with uncontrolled high blood pressure), and 3% had impaired fasting glucose (indicating higher than normal blood glucose levels and known as pre-diabetes).
  • Generally, men, people living in Outer regional and remote areas and people in low socioeconomic groups had higher rates of risk factors.
  • Having multiple risk factors increases disease risk. Two-thirds of the adult population (66%) had 3 or more risk factors at the same time, including 10% with 5 or 6 risk factors.

Risk factors among adults with CVD

  • Adults with CVD were more likely than adults without CVD to have uncontrolled high blood pressure (2.1 times), be overweight or obese (1.3 times), have dyslipidaemia (1.3 times) and be inactive or insufficiently active (1.2 times).
  • Four in 5 adults with CVD (84%) reported having 3 or more risk factors at the same time, including 18% with 5 or 6 risk factors.

Risk factors among adults with diabetes

  • Adults with diabetes were more likely than adults without diabetes to have uncontrolled high blood pressure (2.0 times), be overweight or obese (1.5 times), and have uncontrolled dyslipidaemia (1.2 times).
  • Nearly all (94%) reported having 3 or more risk factors at the same time, including 28% with 5 or 6 risk factors.

Risk factors among adults with CKD

  • Adults with CKD were more likely than adults without CKD to have uncontrolled high blood pressure (1.9 times), or have elevated blood glucose levels (2.8 times).

Recommended citation

AIHW 2015. Cardiovascular disease, diabetes and chronic kidney disease—Australian facts: risk factors. Cardiovascular, diabetes and chronic kidney disease series no. 4. Cat. no. CDK 004. Canberra: AIHW.

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