I am
Show me:
Show me:
Tens of thousands of Aussies missing tests for silent killers
heartfoundation.org.au|Helpline 13 11 12

Tens of thousands of Aussies missing tests for silent killers

Media Release - 16 November 2020

More than a third of Australians aged 45 and over have not had up-to-date tests for high blood pressure and high cholesterol, two leading risk factors for coronary heart disease, which kills on average 50 Australians every day.

Data unveiled by the Heart Foundation today reveal that more than 61,000 eligible Australians (36%) in the at-risk age group of 45-74 failed to have both their blood pressure and cholesterol recorded within the recommended timeframes.

While 15 per cent of eligible Australians (25,315 people) missed having their blood pressure checked in the last two years, nearly double that number, 29 per cent (50,501 people), went more than five years without having their cholesterol recorded by their GP.

Heart Foundation Risk Reduction Manager Natalie Raffoul, who is presenting the data at the virtual GP20 conference, said the results were a wakeup call and revealed too many Australians are missing out on the checks needed to protect their heart health.

“High blood pressure and cholesterol are often silent or symptom free, yet they are two of the biggest risk factors for heart attack and stroke. Too many times, we hear of people who think they’re fine but don’t realise they’re a ticking time bomb.

“It’s not uncommon that a heart attack or stroke is the first sign that something is wrong. It’s devastating because these conditions are largely preventable and can be treated if they’re picked up and managed.”

The Heart Foundation recommends all Australians aged 45 and over, and 30 and over for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians, see their GP for a Heart Health Check covered by Medicare.

“A Heart Health Check can save your life – it takes 20 minutes including a blood test, and it’s your best opportunity to take control of your heart health and reduce your risk of a heart attack or stroke.”

The data also found that nearly one in four eligible Australians, more than 26,000 people, are at high risk of a heart attack or stroke due to a combination of risk factors and or their age.

“This is important, because we know that the more risk factors you have, the greater your risk of heart attack and stroke.

“Some people are automatically at high risk of developing heart disease because of their co-existing conditions, such as diabetes or kidney disease. These people in particular should have regular heart health check ups with their GP.”

A Heart Health Check is performed by your doctor to assess how likely you are to have a heart attack or stroke in the next five years. As part of a Heart Health Check, your doctor will take blood tests for blood cholesterol and blood glucose levels, measure your blood pressure, BMI (body mass index) and  waist size, and talk to you about your family’s medical history and your lifestyle.

The results, drawn from an analysis of national general practice MedicineInsight data, looked at 172,366 deidentified patient records to assess the number of Australians whose necessary risk factors were recorded.

The Heart Foundation is unveiling the results today at the virtual GP20 conference, the annual conference for GPs run by the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP).

Heart Healthy Dinner Plan

Heart Healthy Dinner Plan

Heart Healthy Dinner Plan

Sign up now and discover delicious, easy to follow dinner recipes. Plus shopping lists, tips and other helpful information to make healthy eating easy. ...

Aboriginal heart health

Aboriginal heart health

Aboriginal heart health

Visit the St Vincents Hospital NSW and Heart Foundation Aboriginal heart health website for more information...

Are you at risk of heart disease?

Are you at risk of heart disease?

Are you at risk of heart disease?

There is no single cause for any one heart condition, but there are risk factors that increase your chance of developing one. ...

Clinical Guidelines

Clinical Guidelines

Clinical Guidelines

Full list of clinical guidlines and references for CVD, heart failure, ACS, hypertension, atrial fibrillation, SCAD and RHD...

Heart Foundation Recovery Support and Resources

Heart Foundation Recovery Support and Resources

Heart Foundation Recovery Support and Resources

Heart Foundation programs and resources to support your recovery....

Help Keep families together this Christmas

Help Keep families together this Christmas

Help Keep families together this Christmas

Together, we can make heart disease history. Donate today to help fund ground-breaking heart research and keep families together this Christmas. ...

Support and resources for health care professionals

Support and resources for health care professionals

Support and resources for health care professionals

Our range of clinical and patient support resources are available for you to use in your daily practice....

Support us and help save Australian hearts

Support us and help save Australian hearts

Support us and help save Australian hearts

Join the fight against Australia’s biggest killer by supporting the Heart Foundation.  ...

Fundraise to save Australian hearts

Fundraise to save Australian hearts

Fundraise to save Australian hearts

Join the Heart Foundation community. Together, we can make a real difference for Australian hearts. ...

How your heart works

How your heart works

How your heart works

Your heart is a muscle that pumps blood to all parts of your body. The blood gives your body the oxygen and nourishment it needs to work properly. ...

Action Plans

Action Plans

Action Plans

Recovery is a long journey, so having a plan makes a huge difference. Using an action plan gives you a step-by-step guide to improving your lifestyle....

Healthy Food Access Tasmania

Healthy Food Access Tasmania

Healthy Food Access Tasmania

We've been working on several projects with local governments across Tasmania, big and small....

From diagnosis at 37 to heart surgery, rehab and now

From diagnosis at 37 to heart surgery, rehab and now

From diagnosis at 37 to heart surgery, rehab and now

Claude Lam, Open heart surgery survivor...

Your heart is your most important tool

Your heart is your most important tool

Your heart is your most important tool

Men’s Health Week is the perfect time to think about your heart....

Our corporate partners

Our corporate partners

Our corporate partners

We value the support of all of our corporate partners....

What is a heart attack?

What is a heart attack?

What is a heart attack?

The most common cause of a heart attack is coronary heart disease....

Encouraging cardiovascular research excellence in South Australia

Encouraging cardiovascular research excellence in South Australia

Encouraging cardiovascular research excellence in South Australia

Western Australian Cardiovascular Research Alliance

Western Australian Cardiovascular Research Alliance

Western Australian Cardiovascular Research Alliance

WACRA are the peak leadership body in Western Australian advancing research into heart, stroke and vascular disease to accelerate translation and improve health outcomes....

Endorsement of externally developed clinical resources

Endorsement of externally developed clinical resources

10 ways to get the right balance of fats 

10 ways to get the right balance of fats 

10 ways to get the right balance of fats 

Getting the right balance of fats in your diet can improve your heart health....

The one that took Jan’s breath away

The one that took Jan’s breath away

The one that took Jan’s breath away

Open heart surgery to treat damaged heart valves has improved Jan's overall health....

After being treated for atrial fibrillation, Boyd is now back on track

After being treated for atrial fibrillation, Boyd is now back on track

After being treated for atrial fibrillation, Boyd is now back on track

Running has been an important part of Boyd's life, so imagine his shock when a heart condition he had never heard of threatened to put a stop to it. ...

Lipid management clinical information and resources

Lipid management clinical information and resources

Lipid management resources for health professionals...

Advocating for healthy hearts throughout Australia

Advocating for healthy hearts throughout Australia

We're addressing the disparities in heart health so all Australians can live longer, healthier lives....

Acute coronary syndromes (ACS) clinical resources

Acute coronary syndromes (ACS) clinical resources

Resources and clinical information for health professionals...

Order patient resources online

Order patient resources online

Search and order from our range of printed patient resources online. ...

Physical activity resources for patients and consumers

Physical activity resources for patients and consumers

Physical activity information for professionals...

Risk factors for women

Risk factors for women

Risk factors for women

In Australia, 90% of women have one risk factor for heart disease, and 50% have two or more. ...

Seafood recipes

Seafood recipes

Seafood recipes

Find heart healthy seafood recipes...

Hypertension clinical information and guidelines

Hypertension clinical information and guidelines

Clinical information for diagnosis and management of hypertension....