Cardiovascular disease, diabetes, chronic kidney disease affect over a quarter of Australians

A new report from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) shows that in 2011-12, over one in four (29%) Australian adults had cardiovascular disease, diabetes, or chronic kidney disease.

The report, Cardiovascular disease, diabetes and chronic kidney disease: Australian facts: Prevalence and incidence, shows that of the 4.9 million Australian adults (29%) with at least one of these three diseases, 1.2 million (about 7%) and 182,000 (about 1%) had two and three of the diseases, respectively.

'These diseases often have similar underlying causes and features, and often share common risk factors, as well as prevention, management and treatment strategies,' said AIHW spokesperson Sushma Mathur.

The report shows that cardiovascular disease and chronic kidney disease were often reported in those with diabetes, with over two-thirds (68%) of people with diabetes having one or both of these diseases.

'Among people with chronic kidney disease, about half (51%) also had cardiovascular disease and/or diabetes,' Ms Mathur said.

The likelihood of having more than one condition increases with age, especially when one of the conditions was cardiovascular disease.

'For example, 15% of people aged 65 and over had cardiovascular disease and chronic kidney disease, while only 2% of those aged 45-65 had both diseases,' Ms Mathur said.

Individually, cardiovascular disease is the most common of the three diseases, with 22% (3.7 million) of Australian adults reporting that they had one or more cardiovascular diseases (including hypertensive disease, heart disease, stroke or heart failure).

The results of the blood tests of around 5% of adults (917,000) showed signs of diabetes, although of these, one in five (or 1% of the adult population) did not self-report having the condition. This suggests that for every 4 adults with diagnosed diabetes, there is approximately 1 with undiagnosed or unreported diabetes.

Around 10% of adults (1.7 million) showed signs of chronic kidney disease, although only 1% of adults self-reported having the disease.

'This reflects the fact that chronic kidney disease remains a highly under-diagnosed condition, largely because by the time any symptoms appear, around 90% of kidney function can be lost,' Ms Mathur said.

The AIHW is a major national agency set up by the Australian Government to provide reliable, regular and relevant information and statistics on Australia's health and welfare.


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