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High blood pressure statistics

High blood pressure (or hypertension) is the most common of all the conditions of the circulatory system. (1)

In 2003, high blood pressure was the greatest attributor to the burden of CVD accounting for 42.1% of CVD’s total  burden. (2)

In 2014/15, close to 6 million Australians (34%) aged 18 years and over had high blood pressure (systolic or diastolic blood pressure is ≥140/90 mmHg or taking medication). Of these, more than two thirds (68%) had uncontrolled or unmanaged high blood pressure (not taking medication), representing 4 million adult Australians. (1)

Uncontrolled/unmanaged high blood pressure

In 2014/15, men were more likely to have uncontrolled or unmanaged high blood pressure than women (24.4% vs. 21.7% respectively), while the proportion of Australians with uncontrolled or unmanaged high blood pressure increased with age.

% High blood pressure by gender and age (1)
Age group Male Female Total
18–24 6.0% 6.7% 5.9%
25–34 11.1% 8.2% 9.6%
35–44 18.7% 13.9% 16.1%
45–54 26.9% 21.5% 24.4%
55–64 40.0% 30.9% 35.1%
65–74 42.1% 41.3% 41.5%
75+ 42.1% 51.3% 46.9%
Total 24.4% 21.7% 23.0%

Uncontrolled/unmanaged high blood pressure by location

In 2014/15, the prevalence of uncontrolled or unmanaged high blood pressure was lowest in Western Australia (20.4%) and highest in Tasmania (25.2%).

% High blood pressure by state/territory (1)
State/territory %
Tasmania 25.2%
South Australia 22.6%
Victoria 22.8%
New South Wales 21.3%
Western Australia 20.4%
Australian Capital Territory 23.7%
Queensland 22.5%
Northern Territory 21.5%

Heart Foundation HeartWatch

Told by a doctor/health professional

Based on the Heart Foundation HeartWatch survey, in 2016, almost a third (32.5%) of people stated that they have been told by a doctor that they have high blood pressure.

More than half (59.9%) of these people are currently taking medication for their high blood pressure. (3)

High blood pressure by household income

In 2016, the lower the household income, the more likely a person was told by their doctor/health professional that they have high blood pressure.

% High blood pressure by household (3)
Household income %
Less than $55,000 38.6%
$55,000 to $85,000 34.5%
$85,001 to $120,000 29.2%
More than $120,000 28.8%

High blood pressure – metro vs. regional

In 2016, Australians living in regional areas (33.9%) were significantly more likely to have high blood pressure than their metropolitan counterparts (32.0%). (3)

References

  1.  Australian Bureau of Statistics. Australian Health Survey 2014/15 (4364.0).
  2.  Begg S, Vos T, Barker B, Stevenson C, Stanley L, Lopez AD, 2007. The burden of disease and injury in Australia 2003. PHE82. Canberra: AIHW.
  3.  Heart Foundation. HeartWatch Survey 2016.

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