additional diagnosis: The diagnosis of a condition or recording of a complaint – either coexisting with the principal diagnosis or arising during the episode of admitted patient care (hospitalisation), episode of residential care or attendance at a health care establishment – that requires the provision of care. Multiple diagnoses may be recorded.
age-standardisation: A way to remove the influence of age when comparing populations with different age structures. This is usually necessary because the rates of many diseases vary strongly (usually increasing) with age. The age structures of the different populations are converted to the same ‘standard’ structure, and then the disease rates that would have occurred with that structure are calculated and compared.
associated cause(s) of death: A cause(s) listed on the Medical Certificate of Cause of Death, other than the underlying cause of death. They include the immediate cause, any intervening causes, and conditions that contributed to the death but were not related to the disease or condition causing death.
biomarker: A measurable indicator of a biological state or condition.
blood cholesterol: A fatty substance produced by the liver and carried by the blood to supply the rest of the body. Its natural function is to supply material for cell walls and for steroid hormones, but if levels in the blood become too high this can lead to atherosclerosis and heart disease.
blood pressure: The force exerted by the blood on the walls of the arteries as it is pumped around the body by the heart. It is written, for example, as 134/70 mmHg, where the upper number is the systolic pressure (the maximum force against the arteries as the heart muscle contracts to pump the blood out) and the lower number is the diastolic pressure (the minimum force against the arteries as the heart relaxes and fills again with blood). Levels of blood pressure can vary greatly from person to person and from moment to moment in the same person. See also high blood pressure and hypertension.
body mass index (BMI): The most commonly used method of assessing whether a person is normal weight, underweight, overweight or obese. It is calculated by dividing the person’s weight (in kilograms) by their height (in metres) squared – that is, kg ÷ m2. For both men and women, underweight is a BMI below 18.5, normal weight is from 18.5 to less than 25, overweight but not obese is from 25 to less than 30, and obese is 30 and over. Sometimes overweight and obese are combined – defined as a BMI of 25 and over.
cardiovascular disease: Any disease of the circulatory system, namely the heart (cardio) or blood vessels (vascular). Includes heart attack, angina, stroke and peripheral arterial disease. Cardiovascular disease is also known as circulatory disease. See also heart, stroke and vascular disease.
cause of death: The causes of death entered on the Medical Certificate of Cause of Death are all diseases, morbid conditions or injuries that either resulted in or contributed to death, and the circumstances of the accident or violence that produced any such injuries. Causes of death are commonly reported by the underlying cause of death. See also associated cause(s) of death.
chronic diseases: A diverse group of diseases, such as heart disease, cancer and arthritis, that tend to be long lasting and persistent in their symptoms or development. Although these features also apply to some communicable diseases, the term is usually confined to non-communicable diseases.
chronic kidney disease: A term that refers to all conditions of the kidney, lasting at least 3 months, where a person has had evidence of kidney damage and/or reduced kidney function, regardless of the specific cause.
comorbidity: A term that describes – in relation to an index disease/condition – any additional disease experienced by a person while they have the index disease. The index and comorbid disease/condition will change depending on the focus of the study. Compare with multimorbidity.
diabetes (diabetes mellitus): A chronic condition in which the body cannot properly use its main energy source, the sugar glucose. This is due to a relative or absolute deficiency in insulin, a hormone produced by the pancreas that helps glucose enter the body’s cells from the bloodstream and be processed by them. Diabetes is marked by an abnormal build-up of glucose in the blood and can have serious short- and long-term effects.
dialysis: An artificial method of removing waste products and water from the blood as well as regulating levels of circulating chemicals. There are 2 main forms of dialysis: haemodialysis (which occurs outside the body via a machine) and peritoneal dialysis (which occurs inside the patient’s body via the lining of the abdominal cavity).
disability-adjusted life year: A year of healthy life lost, either through premature death or equivalently through living with disability due to illness or injury. It is called a DALY and is the basic unit used in burden of disease and injury estimates.
end stage kidney disease: See kidney failure.
glomerular filtration rate: The amount of blood the kidneys can clear of waste products in 1 minute. Usually estimated (estimated glomerular filtration rate) using age, gender and creatinine levels in the blood.
haemodialysis: See dialysis.
heart, stroke and vascular disease: A term in the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) National Health Survey that refers to a range of circulatory conditions, comprising ischaemic heart diseases (angina, heart attack and other ischaemic heart diseases); cerebrovascular diseases (stroke and other cerebrovascular diseases); oedema; heart failure; and diseases of the arteries, arterioles and capillaries. People reporting as having heart, stroke and vascular disease must have been told by a doctor or nurse that they had the condition, that their condition was current at the time of interview, and that it had lasted, or was expected to last, 6 months or more.
high blood pressure: A condition defined in the ABS National Health Survey 2017–18 (where it was measured at the time of the interview) as any of the following: systolic blood pressure greater than or equal to 140 mmHg, or diastolic blood pressure greater than or equal to 90 mmHg or receiving medication for high blood pressure. For this survey, high blood pressure is distinguished from hypertension which was self-reported as a long-term health condition.
hospitalisation: A term that is synonymous with admission and separation; that is, an episode of hospital care that starts with the formal admission process and ends with the formal separation process. An episode of care can be completed by the patient’s being discharged, being transferred to another hospital or care facility, by dying, or by a portion of a hospital stay starting or ending in a change of type of care (for example, from acute to rehabilitation).
hypertension: See high blood pressure.
incidence: The number of new cases (of an illness or event, and so on) occurring during a given period. Compare with prevalence.
kidney failure: The most severe form of chronic kidney disease, also known as Stage 5 chronic kidney disease or end-stage kidney disease. People with kidney failure generally experience a range of symptoms and abnormalities in several organ systems due to severe loss of kidney function. Kidney replacement therapy in the form of dialysis or a kidney transplant is required for survival when kidney function is no longer sufficient to sustain life.
kidney replacement therapy: A treatment that includes having a functional kidney transplant or receiving regular dialysis.
peritoneal dialysis: See dialysis.
prevalence: The number or proportion (of cases, instances, and so forth) in a population at a given time. For example, in relation to cancer, it refers to the number of people alive who had been diagnosed with cancer in a prescribed period (usually 1, 5, 10 or 26 years). Compare with incidence.
principal diagnosis: The diagnosis established after study to be chiefly responsible for occasioning an episode of patient care (hospitalisation), an episode of residential care or an attendance at the health care establishment. Diagnoses are recorded using the relevant edition of the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems, 10th revision, Australian Modification (ICD-10-AM).
remoteness: A system that classifies geographical locations into groups (Major cities, Inner regional, Outer regional, Remote, Very remote) according to distance from major population centres and services. In these analyses, remoteness is based on the Accessibility/Remoteness Index of Australia and defined as Remoteness Areas by the Australian Statistical Geographical Standard (in each Census year). Remoteness is a geographical concept and does not take account of accessibility, which is influenced by factors such as the socioeconomic status or mobility of a population.
risk factor: Any factor that represents a greater risk of a health disorder or other unwanted condition or event. Some risk factors are regarded as causes of disease, others are not necessarily so. Along with their opposites (protective factors), risk factors are known as determinants.
socioeconomic areas: A classification based on the ABS Index of Relative Socio‑Economic Disadvantage – part of the Socio-Economic Indexes for Areas created from Census data – that aims to represent the socioeconomic position of Australian communities and reflect the overall or average level of disadvantage of the population in an area.
underlying cause of death: The disease or injury that initiated the train of events leading directly to death, or the circumstances of the accident or violence that produced the fatal injury. See also cause(s) of death and associated cause(s) of death.