Non-fatal heart attacks fall in Newcastle and Perth

The number of non-fatal heart attacks in Newcastle and Perth fell sharply over a period from the mid-1980s to the early 1990s according to a new report released today by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare.

The report shows that for men and women aged 35-64 years, non-fatal heart attacks fell by 4% per year in Newcastle, and 1-3% per year in Perth.

Coronary heart disease death rates have continued to fall through the 1990s, around 4% per year in Perth and 8-9% per year in Newcastle.

The report also shows that the proportion of smokers in Newcastle and Perth declined dramatically between 1983 and 1994, and there was an increase in prevalence of overweight and obesity over the same period.

The WHO MONICA Study, Australia, 1984-1993 presents data collected by the two Australian centres (Perth and Newcastle) which participated in the World Health Organization's multinational survey-designed to study trends in cardiovascular disease and its causes. Forty populations from 25 countries were involved in the study from the mid-1980s to the mid-1990s.

Co-author of the report, Professor Annette Dobson, said that the use of aspirin had increased substantially.

'By 1993, for example, aspirin was used by more than 80% of patients who were discharged from hospital,' Professor Dobson said.

'Additionally, about 28% of Newcastle men aged 65-69 years took aspirin every day.'

The report also shows:

  • A reduction in the mean level of total cholesterol, which may be the result of changes in diet as well as an increase in the use of medications to treat high cholesterol.
  • An increase in the use of angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors and calcium channel blockers in the general population, but a reduction in the use of beta blockers diuretics and other anti-hypertensive medications.


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