Cardiovascular disease fact sheet
Cardiovascular disease (CVD) refers to all diseases and conditions involving the heart and blood vessels. The main types of CVD in Australia are coronary heart disease, stroke and heart failure/cardiomyopathy. (1)
Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is a major cause of death in Australia. There were 43,963 deaths attributed to CVD in Australia in 2016. This means that on average, 120 Australians die from CVD each day, or one every 12 minutes. (2)
CVD accounted for nearly 28% of all deaths in Australia in 2016, including 27% for males and 29% for females. (2)
CVD was the main cause for 490,000 hospitalisations in 2014/15. The number of hospital separations due to CVD has increased by 8% from 2004/05 to 2014/15. (3)
One in six Australians are affected by cardiovascular disease, accounting for more than 4.2 million Australians. (4)
CVD prevalence increases with age, with 35% of Australians aged 55-64 reporting a long-term CVD condition, increasing to 66% for Australians aged 75 and over. (4)
Overall, people in the lower socioeconomic groups, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and those living in regional and remote areas generally have higher rates of hospitalisation and death resulting from CVD than other Australians. (1)
Lifetime risks of cardiovascular disease
A higher burden of risk factors is associated with a higher lifetime risk of death from CVD. These risk factors include high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, smoking, diabetes, overweight or obesity, and physical inactivity. (5)
Men aged 55 years with at least two major risk factors were six times as likely to die from CVD by age 80 than men with no or one CVD risk factor (29.6% vs. 4.7%). (5)
Women aged 55 years with at least two major risk factors were three times as likely to die from CVD by age 80 than men with no or one CVD risk factor. (5)
Men aged 45 years with two or more risk factors had a 49.5 per cent chance of having a cardiovascular event by age 80. Men with no risk factors only had a 1.4 per cent chance of having a cardiovascular event by age 80. (5)
Women aged 45 years old with two or more risk factors had a 30.7 per cent chance of having a major cardiovascular event by age 80. Women with no risk factors only had a 4.1 per cent chance of having a major cardiovascular event by age 80. (5)
Burden of disease
CVD accounts for 15 percent of the total burden of disease in Australia, second only to cancers at 19 percent of the total burden. (6)
In 2012-13, $5.0 billion was spent providing healthcare to admitted patients with CVD. This accounted for 11.1 percent of total admitted health expenditure – the largest share of health expenditure of any disease group. (7)
- Australian Institute of Health and Welfare 2011. Cardiovascular disease: Australian facts 2011. Cardiovascular disease series. Cat. no. CVD 53. Canberra: AIHW.
- Australian Bureau of Statistics 2017, Causes of Death 2016, ABS cat. no. 3303.0, September;
- Australian Institute of Health and Welfare 2015. Australian hospital statistics 2014–15. Health services series no. 54. Cat. no. HSE 145. Canberra: AIHW.
- Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2016, National Health Survey: First results, 2014-15, ABS cat. no. 4364.0.55.001, March. Data customised using TableBuilder;
- Berry, J.D, 2012. Lifetime Risks of Cardiovascular Disease. New England Journal of Medicine, 366(4), 321-329.
- Australian Institute of Health and Welfare 2016, Australian Burden of Disease Study: Impact and causes of illness and death in Australian 2011, Australian Burden of disease Study series no. 3, BOD 4, Canberra.
- Australian Institute of Health and Welfare 2017, Australian Health Expenditure – demographics and diseases: hospital admitted patient expenditure 2004-05 to 2012-13, Health Expenditure and Welfare series no. 59, cat. No. HWE 69, Canberra.