HEART AND CIRCULATORY CONDITIONS
In the 2014-15 NHS, data on heart, stroke and vascular disease refers to persons who reported having been told by a doctor or nurse that they had any of a range of circulatory conditions comprising:
- Ischaemic heart diseases (angina, heart attack and other ischaemic heart diseases)
- Cerebrovascular diseases (stroke and other cerebrovascular diseases)
- Heart failure
- Diseases of the arteries, arterioles and capillaries
and that their condition 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.
Persons who reported having ischaemic heart diseases and cerebrovascular diseases that were not current and long-term at the time of interview are also included.
This is different to previous surveys where only persons who reported having ischaemic heart diseases and cerebrovascular diseases that were current and long-term were included.
See the Comparability section below for more information.
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.
Information was obtained for all persons in the 2014-15 NHS (with certain questions only asked of specific groups, as identified below).
Information about heart and circulatory conditions was first published in the National Health Survey: First Results, 2014-15
based on a sample of 19,259 people. Additional information relating to actions and medications taken for diseases of the circulatory system was also published in Health Service Usage and Health related Actions, Australia, 2014-15.
Respondents were asked if they had ever been told by a doctor or nurse that they had any heart or circulatory conditions, including any conditions which can be controlled with medication. 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: ie 4 in total.
- Rheumatic heart disease
- Heart attack
- Heart failure
- Stroke (including after effects of stroke)
- Transient ischaemic attack (TIA, 'mini stroke')
- High blood pressure/hypertension
- Low blood pressure/hypotension
- Hardening of the arteries/atherosclerosis/arteriosclerosis
- Fluid problems/fluid retention/oedema
- High cholesterol
- Rapid or irregular heartbeats/tachycardia/palpitations
- Heart murmur/heart valve disorder
- Varicose veins
- Other (up to three conditions could be recorded).
Very limited information is available for those conditions recorded in the 'other specify' category.
Respondents who had ever been told they had any heart or circulatory conditions were asked:
- Whether they currently had any heart or circulatory conditions, including conditions currently controlled by medications, and the names of these.
- Whether any of these conditions had lasted, or were expected to last, for six months or more, and which ones.
The list of predefined conditions was again used for these questions, and any 'other' responses identified in the initial question.
The following age-specific questions were also asked:
- All respondents aged 45 years or over, and those aged 18 to 44 years with a current heart or circulatory condition, were asked whether their cholesterol level had been checked in the last 5 years, and if so, whether it 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, and they had a current heart or circulatory condition, whether it had been checked in the last 12 months. Those who had it checked in the last 12 months were also asked who their blood pressure is usually checked by (GP, specialist, other health professional) and 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 any medication, on a daily basis, for their heart or circulatory conditions.
Respondents who reported having a current and long-term heart or circulatory condition were sequenced to the Actions
module where they were asked about consultations with health professionals, use of medical facilities and time away from study/school or work, in relation to, or as a result of, their heart or circulatory condition. Please note, high cholesterol is collected as part of the 'heart and circulatory' module and people with high cholesterol are sequenced to the Actions
module, it is classified as being an endocrine condition in the ICD-10.
Respondents were asked in a later module about all medications and health supplements they were taking, but not in relation to any specific condition.
The questionnaire, data items and related output categories for this topic are 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:
- As this is a household based survey, people with heart or circulatory conditions who were resident in hospitals, nursing or convalescent homes, or similar accommodation were outside the scope of this survey.
- Those cases of heart or circulatory conditions reported through the 'Long-term conditions' module, rather than the 'heart and circulatory conditions' module, have not necessarily been diagnosed by a doctor or nurse. Data for these respondents are identified by their conditions status of 4: Not known or not ever told, but condition current and long-term.
- 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.
Comparability with 2011-12
In 2011-12, information about heart and circulatory conditions was collected in both the NHS and the NNPAS surveys (i.e. the AHS Core).
When making comparisons between 2014-15 and 2011-12 data it is recommended that:
- Where possible, comparisons are made using the Australian Health Survey: Updated Results, 2011-12 (cat. no. 4364.0.55.003) and Microdata: Australian Health Survey, Core Content - Risk Factors and Selected Health Conditions, 2011-12 (cat. no. 4324.0.55.003) for the most accurate information.
- For comparison of 2014-15 data with items which were only collected in the 2011-12 NHS, the Australian Health Survey: First Results, 2011-12 (cat. no. 4364.0.55.001) and Microdata: Australian Health Survey, National Health Survey, 2011-12 (cat. no. 4324.0.55.001) are used.
- For comparisons between 2014-15 and 2011-12 actions taken for condition data, the Australian Health Survey: Health Service Usage and Health Related Actions, 2011-12 (cat. no. 4364.0.55.002) and Microdata: Australian Health Survey, National Health Survey, 2011-12 (cat. no. 4324.0.55.001) are used.
The following should be considered when making comparisons. In the 2014-15 NHS:
- 'Heart, stroke and vascular disease' has been redefined to include persons who reported having ischaemic heart diseases and cerebrovascular diseases that were not current and long-term at the time of interview. Data for 2007-08, 2011-12 and 2014-15 in the National Health Survey: First Results, 2014-15 are presented using this definition, while previously published data excluded these persons.
- In addition to the existing category 'Stroke (including after effects of stroke)' on the prompt card for circulatory conditions, a new category 'Transient ischaemic attack (TIA, 'mini stroke')' was introduced and coded to 'Other cerebrovascular diseases'. As a result estimates of 'Other cerebrovascular diseases' have increased (from 4,900 people in 2011-12 to 171,200 people in 2014-15) while estimates of 'Stroke' have decreased (from 240,000 people to 172,300 people respectively.
- A general question about whether the respondent took any medications for their heart or circulatory conditions on a daily basis was asked instead of the 2011-12 questions which asked if the respondent took aspirin on a daily basis and, if so, whether they were advised by a doctor to do so.
- There is limited comparability between 2007-08 and previous years due to a change in derivation methodology in 2007-08.