Glossary

abnormal blood lipid levels: Abnormal levels of fats in the blood, such as cholesterol or triglycerides. Here it has been defined as total cholesterol ≥5.5 mmol/L, LDL cholesterol ≥3.5 mmol/L, HDL cholesterol <1.0 mmol/L in men or <1.3 mmol/L in women, triglycerides ≥2mmol/L, or use of lipid-modifying medication.

Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander: A person of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander descent who identifies as an Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander.

additional diagnosis: The diagnosis of a condition or recording of a complaint—either coexisting with the principal diagnosis or arising during the episode of admitted patient care (hospitalisation), episode of residential care or attendance at a health care establishment—that requires the provision of care. Multiple diagnoses may be recorded.

age-standardisation: A way to remove the influence of age when comparing populations with different age structures. This is usually necessary because the rates of many diseases vary strongly (usually increasing) with age. The age structures of the different populations are converted to the same 'standard' structure, and then the disease rates that would have occurred with that structure are calculated and compared.

Apgar score: Numerical score used to indicate a baby’s condition at 1 minute and at 5 minutes after birth. Between 0 and 2 points are given for each of 5 characteristics: breathing, colour, heart rate, muscle tone and reflex irritability. The total score is between 0 and 10.

associated cause(s) of death: A cause(s) listed on the Medical Certificate of Cause of Death, other than the underlying cause of death. They include the immediate cause, any intervening causes, and conditions that contributed to the death but were not related to the disease or condition causing death.

blood pressure: The force exerted by the blood on the walls of the arteries as it is pumped around the body by the heart. It is written, for example, as 134/70 mmHg, where the upper number is the systolic pressure (the maximum force against the arteries as the heart muscle contracts to pump the blood out) and the lower number is the diastolic pressure (the minimum force against the arteries as the heart relaxes and fills again with blood). Levels of blood pressure can vary greatly from person to person and from moment to moment in the same person. See also high blood pressure/hypertension.

body mass index (BMI): The most commonly used method of assessing whether a person is normal weight, underweight, overweight or obese (see obesity). It is calculated by dividing the person’s weight (in kilograms) by their height (in metres) squared—that is, kg ÷ m2. For both men and women, underweight is a BMI below 18.5, normal weight is from 18.5 to less than 25, overweight but not obese is from 25 to less than 30, and obese is 30 and over. Sometimes overweight and obese are combined—defined as a BMI of 25 and over.

burden of disease and injury: The term that refers to the quantified impact of a disease or injury on an individual or population, using the disability-adjusted life year (DALY) measure.

cardiovascular disease (CVD): Any disease of the circulatory system, namely the heart (cardio) or blood vessels (vascular). Includes heart attackanginastroke and peripheral arterial disease. CVD is also known as circulatory disease.

cause(s) of death: All diseases, morbid conditions or injuries that either resulted in or contributed to death—and the circumstances of the accident or violence that produced any such injuries—that are entered on the Medical Certificate of Cause of Death. Causes of death are commonly reported by the underlying cause of death. See also associated cause(s) of death and multiple causes of death.

chronic diseases: Term applied to a diverse group of diseases, such as heart disease, cancer and arthritis, that tend to be long-lasting and persistent in their symptoms or development. Although these features also apply to some communicable diseases, the term is usually confined to non-communicable diseases.

circulatory disease: Alternative name for cardiovascular disease.

comorbidity: Defined in relation to an index disease/condition, comorbidity describes any additional disease that is experienced by a person while they have the index disease. The index and comorbid disease/condition will change depending on the focus of the study. Compare with multimorbidity.

confidence interval: A range determined by variability in data, within which there is a specified (usually 95%) chance that the true value of a calculated parameter lies.

diabetes (diabetes mellitus): A chronic condition in which the body cannot properly use its main energy source, the sugar glucose. This is due to a relative or absolute deficiency in insulin, a hormone that is produced by the pancreas and helps glucose enter the body's cells from the bloodstream and then be processed by them. Diabetes is marked by an abnormal build–up of glucose in the blood, and it can have serious short– and long–term effects. For the three main types of diabetes see type 1 diabetes, type 2 diabetes and gestational diabetes.

disability-adjusted life year (DALY): A year of healthy life lost, either through premature death or equivalently through living with disability due to illness or injury. It is the basic unit used in burden of disease and injury estimates.

gestational diabetes: A form of diabetes when higher than optimal blood glucose is first diagnosed during pregnancy (gestation). It may disappear after pregnancy but signals a high risk of diabetes occurring later on.

glycated haemoglobin: is the main biomarker used to assess long-term glucose control in people living with diabetes. Haemoglobin is a protein in red blood cells which can bind with sugar to form HbA1c. It is directly related to blood glucose levels and strongly related with the development of long-term diabetes complications.

HbA1c: see glycated haemoglobin.

high blood cholesterol: Total cholesterol levels above 5.5 mmol/L.

high blood pressure/hypertension: The definition of high blood pressure (also known as hypertension) can vary but a well-accepted one is from the World Health Organization: a systolic blood pressure of 140 mmHg or more or a diastolic blood pressure of 90 mmHg or more, or [the person is] receiving medication for high blood pressure. Also see blood pressure.

hospitalisation: Synonymous with admission and separation; that is, an episode of hospital care that starts with the formal admission process and ends with the formal separation process. An episode of care can be completed by the patient’s being discharged, being transferred to another hospital or care facility, or dying, or by a portion of a hospital stay starting or ending in a change of type of care (for example, from acute to rehabilitation).

hypertension: See high blood pressure.

incidence: The number of new cases (of an illness or event, and so on) occurring during a given period. Compare with prevalence.

lipids: Fatty substances, including cholesterol and triglycerides, that are in blood and body tissues.

median: is based on the value(s) of the observation(s) at the midpoint of a list of observations ranked from the smallest to the largest. 

Metformin: a medication that lower blood glucose levels by reducing the amount of stored glucose released by the liver, slowing the absorption of glucose from the intestine, and helping the body to become more sensitive to insulin so that it works better.

multiple causes of death: All the causes listed on the Medical Certificate of Cause of Death. These include the underlying cause of death and all associated cause(s) of death. See also cause(s) of death.

other diabetes: a name for less common diabetes resulting from a range of different health conditions or circumstances.

prevalence: The number or proportion (of cases, instances, and so forth) in a population at a given time. For example, in relation to cancer, refers to the number of people alive who had been diagnosed with cancer in a prescribed period (usually 1, 5, 10 or 26 years). Compare with incidence.

principal diagnosis: The diagnosis established after study to be chiefly responsible for occasioning an episode of patient care (hospitalisation), an episode of residential care or an attendance at the health care establishment. Diagnoses are recorded using the relevant edition of the International statistical classification of diseases and related health problems, 10th revision, Australian modification (ICD-10-AM).

procedure: A clinical intervention that is surgical in nature, carries a procedural risk, carries an anaesthetic risk, and requires specialist training and/or special facilities or equipment available only in the acute-care setting.

remoteness: A system which classifies geographical locations into groups (Major cities, Inner regional, Outer regional, Remote, Very remote) according to distance from major population centres and services. In these analysis, remoteness is based on Accessibility/Remoteness Index of Australia (ARIA) and defined as Remoteness Areas by the Australian Statistical Geographical Standard (ASGS) (in each Census year). Remoteness is a geographical concept and does not take account of accessibility which is influenced by factors such as the socioeconomic status or mobility of a population.

risk factor: Any factor which represents a greater risk of a health disorder or other unwanted condition or event. Some risk factors are regarded as causes of disease, others are not necessarily so. Along with their opposites, protective factors, risk factors are known as determinants.

socioeconomic areas: Is an indication of how 'well off' a person or group is. Socioeconomic areas are reported using the Australian Bureau of Statistics’ Socio-Economic Indexes for Areas (SEIFA), whereby areas are classified on the basis of social and economic information (such as low income, low educational attainment, high levels of public sector housing, high unemployment and jobs in relatively unskilled occupations) collected in the Census of Population and Housing. Socio-Economic Indexes for Areas, are divided into 5 groups, from the most disadvantaged (worst off) to the least disadvantaged (best off). Note, that this index refers to the average disadvantage of all people living in an area, not to the level of disadvantage of a specific individual.

type 1 diabetes: a lifelong autoimmune disease that can be diagnosed at any age. The exact cause is unknown, but it is believed to be the result of an interaction of genetic and environmental factors.

type 2 diabetes: The most common form of diabetes, is a condition in which the body becomes resistant to the normal effects of insulin and gradually loses the capacity to produce enough insulin in the pancreas. The condition has strong genetic and family-related (non-modifiable) risk factors and is also often associated with modifiable risk factors.

underlying cause of death: The disease or injury that initiated the train of events leading directly to death, or the circumstances of the accident or violence that produced the fatal injury. See also cause(s) of death and associated cause(s) of death.