Research report

Cardiovascular disease, diabetes and chronic kidney disease: Australian facts: prevalence and incidence

19 Nov 2014

Provides a comprehensive summary of the latest available data on the prevalence and incidence in the Australian population of these three chronic vascular diseases, acting alone or together. It examines age and sex characteristics and variations across population groups, by geographical location, and by socioeconomic disadvantage.

This report on prevalence and incidence is the second in the series Cardiovascular disease, diabetes and chronic kidney disease—Australian facts authored by the National Centre for Monitoring Vascular Diseases at the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW). It provides a comprehensive summary of the latest available data on the prevalence and incidence in the Australian population of 3 chronic vascular diseases, acting alone or together: cardiovascular disease (CVD) (including conditions such as heart disease and stroke), diabetes and chronic kidney disease (CKD).

These diseases often have similar underlying causes and features and share common risk factors as well as prevention, management and treatment strategies. Australia has had success in treating and preventing CVD, diabetes and CKD. But the burden of these diseases, in terms of prevalence, continues to grow due to unfavourable risk factor trends combined with an ageing population. Although smoking rates have continued to fall, increases in overweight and obesity, physical inactivity and in insufficient fruit and vegetable consumption suggest that the burden of CVD, diabetes and CKD will escalate in the future (for further details on these risk factors, see AIHW, forthcoming 2015a).

Furthermore, improvements in the diagnosis, treatment, management and survival of CVD, diabetes and CKD have resulted in greater longevity among Australians and a consequent increase in the prevalence of these conditions, particularly among older Australians. These 3 chronic diseases have a substantial impact on the health of Australians, affecting almost 1 in 4 adult Australians, or an estimated 3.7 million Australians, including 1.2 million who have at least 2 of these conditions.

Monitoring the prevalence and incidence of these diseases and their comorbidities enables their burden on population health to be assessed and the effectiveness of preventative health initiatives to be estimated.

This report has 4 chapters: one for each disease group—CVD (including coronary heart disease [CHD], stroke and heart failure), diabetes (including type 1, type 2 and gestational diabetes) and CKD (including end-stage kidney disease [ESKD]), with the final chapter examining the comorbidity of the 3 diseases. Each chapter includes an analysis of prevalence and/or incidence by sex and age and, where available, trend information. Where possible, information is presented by remoteness and socioeconomic group, reflecting that people from socioeconomically disadvantaged areas and remote areas of Australia often have higher rates of these conditions. International comparisons are also presented where possible. The appendixes provide supporting data, and information on methods and data sources.

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