HEART AND CIRCULATORY CONDITIONS
This topic refers to those persons ever told by a doctor or nurse that they have one or more heart or circulatory conditions, and who consider they currently have one or more such conditions.
The scope of this topic differs according to the particular data aspect being considered.
For data collection purposes, and for data output relating to heart and circulatory conditions as a group of conditions, heart and circulatory conditions were defined broadly to include a range of heart, vascular and related conditions.
For output, as long-term conditions are classified to the standard ICD10 based classifications, high cholesterol was classified as being an endocrine condition in the ICD10. However for the purposes of assigning a condition group and associated action module and within module questions, it is considered a heart and circulatory condition.
Some care should be taken in using the data to ensure the scope of the topic is appropriate to the data use intended.
For the purposes of this survey, rheumatic heart disease, heart attack, heart failure, stroke and angina were assumed to be current long-term conditions (i.e. of six months or more duration), if the respondent reported that they had ever been told by a doctor or nurse that they had the condition. This reflects the likelihood of ongoing effects/consequences of those conditions. Although unlikely, it is possible that other heart and circulatory conditions could have been reported by the respondent as current, but believed by the respondent not be of six months or more duration, hence not be defined as long-term conditions in this survey.
Information was obtained for all persons in the NHS and persons aged 2 and over in the NNPAS, with certain questions only asked of specific groups, as identified below.
Respondents were asked if they had ever been told by a doctor or nurse that they had a heart or circulatory condition. A prompt card showing examples of conditions was provided to respondents. The following predefined condition categories were included on the questionnaire, with provision for interviewers to record three additional conditions if required:
- rheumatic heart disease;
- heart attack;
- heart failure;
- stroke (including after effects of stroke);
- high blood pressure or hypertension;
- low blood pressure or hypotension;
- hardening of the arteries, atherosclerosis or arteriosclerosis;
- fluid problems, fluid retention or oedema;
- high cholesterol;
- rapid or irregular heartbeats, tachycardia or palpitations;
- heart murmur or heart valve disorder;
- varicose veins; and,
- other (up to three conditions could be recorded).
More than one response was allowed.
The use of these categories in the questionnaires effectively established this as the most detailed level of information on those conditions available from the survey, although very limited further detail may be available for those conditions recorded in the 'other specify' category.
Respondents were then asked if they currently had any heart or circulatory conditions, including conditions currently controlled by medications, and whether any/which of these conditions had lasted or were expected to last for six months or more. The list of predefined conditions was again used for these questions, and any 'other' responses identified in the initial question.
All respondents aged 45 years or over, and respondents aged 18 to 44 years who specified that they had a current heart or circulatory condition, were asked whether their cholesterol had been checked in the last 5 years, and if so, whether their cholesterol had been checked in the last 12 months.
Respondents aged 18 years or over were asked whether their blood pressure had been checked in the last two years, and if so, whether it had been checked in the last 12 months, and who usually performs the check (GP, specialist, other health professional, somebody else (e.g. family member), and then whether they had tested their own blood pressure in the last 12 months.
Respondents, aged 18 years or over with a current heart or circulatory condition, were also asked whether they took aspirin on a daily basis, and whether this had been on the advice of a doctor.
Respondents who reported having a current and long-term cardiovascular condition were sequenced to the "Actions" module where they were asked questions about the number of times they had seen a GP, specialist, etc.
Respondents were asked in a later module about all medications and health supplements that they were taking, but not in relation to any specific condition. This differs from the 2007-08 survey where questions about medication were asked within the heart and circulatory conditions module.
Information on heart and circulatory conditions was collected in both the NHS and NNPAS. In Australian Health Survey: First Results (cat. no. 4364.0.55.001)
, released on 29 October 2012, data on this item are available from the NHS component (21,000 people). Results from the AHS core sample (the full 34,000 people, consisting of both NHS and NNPAS samples combined) will be available in May 2013. For more information on the structure of the AHS, see the Introduction of this Users' Guide.
The data items and related output categories for this topic will be available in Excel spreadsheet format from the Downloads
page of this product.
Points to be considered in interpreting data for this topic include the following.
Comparability with 2007-08
- As this is a household based survey, people with heart or circulatory conditions who are resident in hospitals, nursing or convalescent homes, or similar accommodation were outside the scope of this survey. As a result, the survey will under-represent those with more severe conditions.
- In this survey, persons who reported they had been told they had rheumatic heart disease, a heart attack, heart failure, angina or stroke are counted as having a current and long-term condition. Even though these conditions are usually short-term events, they often result in some form of residual damage or effects, and have been treated in this survey as current long-term conditions on that basis.
- The conditions recorded are as reported by respondents. In some cases it could be expected that some conditions reported may be symptoms of other heart or circulatory conditions, or other conditions. For example, oedema may be a symptom of a heart valve disorder. Respondents were not asked to associate conditions in this way, such that both symptoms and underlying conditions may have been reported in some cases, and only symptoms or only conditions in other cases. As a result, in looking at the prevalence of certain conditions, data users should consider how related or associated conditions should be treated.
- The prevalence of most long-term illness increases with age. In drawing comparisons of prevalence between the surveys, account should be taken of the shift in the age profile of the population during the period between surveys. As a result of this Table 1 in the Australian Health Survey: First Results has been age standardised so that direct comparisons can be made.
The 2011-12 heart and circulatory conditions module questions were the same as in the 2007-08 NHS and therefore the data is considered comparable.
This page last updated 4 April 2013