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4338.0 - Profiles of Health, Australia, 2011-13  
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 07/06/2013  First Issue
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BLOOD PRESSURE

High blood pressure is an important risk factor for heart disease, stroke and other cardiovascular disease.

    Data source and definitions

    Information on blood pressure was collected using two methods, a measured blood pressure and a self report question on hypertensive disease.

    In accordance with the WHO guidelines, a person is defined as having high blood pressure if their systolic blood pressure is greater than or equal to 140 mmHg and/or their diastolic blood pressure is greater than or equal to 90mmHg.

    The results below are based on measured high blood pressure only. For Australia in 2011-12, 85.5% of persons aged 18 years and over agreed to have their blood pressure measured, and had a valid blood pressure reading obtained. The results below are based on this measured population only.

    The results for measured high blood pressure do not include people who might otherwise have high blood pressure but are managing their condition through the use of blood pressure medications or other actions.

    Hypertensive disease is a chronic medical condition in which the blood pressure in the arteries is elevated. Data on hypertensive disease refers to persons who reported having been told by a doctor or nurse that they had hypertension and that it was current and long-term; that is, their condition was current at the time of interview and had lasted, or was expected to last, 6 months or more.

In 2011-12, just over one in five people aged 18 years and over (21.5%) had measured high blood pressure.

Overall, men were more likely to have high blood pressure than women (23.4% and 19.5% respectively), while the proportion of Australians with high blood pressure increased with age. Around 42.6% of persons aged 65 years and over had measured high blood pressure, compared with 5.5% of people aged 18-24 years.

Graph Image for Persons aged 18 years and over - Proportion with high blood pressure(a), 2011-12

Footnote(s): (a) Measured systolic blood pressure greater than or equal to 140mmHg and/or diastolic blood pressure greater than or equal to 90mmHg.

Source(s): Australian Health Survey: Updated Results, 2011-12


In 2011-12, of those people with measured high blood pressure, 71.9% did not self-report hypertensive disease. Men with measured high blood pressure were more likely to not self-report hypertensive disease than women (74.0% and 69.4% respectively). The proportion of persons with measured high blood pressure who did not self-report hypertensive disease decreased with age (from 97.1% of persons aged 18-24 to 50.8% of persons aged 75 years and over).

Graph Image for Proportion of persons with high blood pressure who did not self-report hypertensive disease(a)(b), 2011-12

Footnote(s): (a) Persons aged 18 years and over. (b) Measured systolic blood pressure greater than or equal to 140mmHg and/or diastolic blood pressure greater than or equal to 90mmHg.

Source(s): Australian Health Survey: Updated Results, 2011-12


Previous results for blood pressure

Information on measured blood pressure is available from Nutrient Intakes and Physical Measurements, Australia, 1995
Information on self reported hypertension is available from the National Health Survey 2007–08, 2004–05, 2001, 1995.

Other articles on blood pressure

Changes in Health: A Snapshot, 2004-05


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