4364.0.55.002 - Australian Health Survey: Health Service Usage and Health Related Actions, 2011-12  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 26/03/2013  First Issue
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Hypertension (high blood pressure) is a significant risk factor for heart disease, stroke and other cardiovascular diseases. Hypertension can be prevented and managed through healthy lifestyle behaviours such as regular physical exercise, maintaining a healthy diet and weight, limiting alcohol intake and quitting smoking. Hypertension can be monitored through regular measurement of blood pressure and managed with the use of blood pressure lowering medications1.


    In this chapter, people with hypertension are defined as those persons 18 years and over who had measured high blood pressure (a systolic reading of 140 mmHg or more and/or a diastolic reading of 90mmHg or more) or were taking hypertension medications.

    Hypertension medications consist of the categories Antihypertensives (C02), Diuretics (C03), Beta blocking agents (C07), Calcium channel blockers (C08) and Agents acting on the renin-angiotensin system (C09) from the WHO Anatomical Therapeutic Chemical (ATC) Classification System2.

In 2011-12, almost one-third (31.6%) of all adult Australians had hypertension, comprising 21.5% of people with high blood pressure and 10.1% with normal blood pressure who were taking hypertension medications. Of these, almost half (48.8%) self-reported having a current and long-term heart or circulatory condition.

Men were more likely to have hypertension than women (34.1% compared with 29.1% respectively). Hypertension was significantly more prevalent at older ages, with almost 9 in 10 (87.7%) people aged 85 years and over having hypertension.

Graph Image for All persons aged 18 years and over - Proportion with hypertension, 2011-12

Of all people with hypertension, around three-quarters (76.3%) were overweight/obese and 42.7% reported doing no exercise in the last week. In comparison, of people without hypertension, around one-half (53.1%) were overweight/obese and 32.5% reported doing no exercise in the last week.

Graph Image for All persons aged 18 years and over - Proportion with or without hypertension, selected health risk factors, 2011-12

For more information on hypertension and measured blood pressure see Table 13 Measured blood pressure and medication use, Table 14 Hypertension and measured blood pressure by selected health risk factors and long-term conditions, and Australian Health Survey: First Results, 2011-12 (cat. no. 4364.0.55.001).

1. Heart Foundation, Cardiovascular conditions, <http://www.heartfoundation.org.au/your-heart/cardiovascular-conditions/Pages/blood-pressure.aspx>, Last accessed 22/03/2013.

2. WHO Collaborating Centre for Drug Statistics Methodology, Dec 2012, Structure and principles, <http://www.whocc.no/atc/structure_and_principles/>, Last accessed 22/03/2013.

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