Heart, stroke and vascular disease encompasses a range of circulatory conditions including angina, heart attack and stroke. Commonly, this group of conditions is referred to under the broader term of 'heart disease' and is often used interchangeably with the term 'cardiovascular disease'. Cardiovascular disease remains the leading cause of death worldwide. In 2017, it was found that there were 43,447 deaths (27% of all deaths) in Australia attributable to diseases of the circulatory system and there were more than 1.1 million hospitalisations in 2015-16 (11% of all hospitalisations) due to cardiovascular disease. Heart disease is associated with lifestyle risk factors such as; smoking, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes, being inactive, being overweight, an unhealthy diet and depression.
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.
In this publication, persons reported 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. In 2014-15 and 2017-18, 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. Estimates of heart, stroke and vascular disease for 2007-08, 2011-12, 2014-15 and 2017-18 in this publication are presented using this definition. There is limited comparability between 2007-08 and previous years due to a change in derivation methodology in 2007-08.