By Dom Vukovic
Australia will reverse 50 years of progress in the fight against heart disease if a “new era” of heart related conditions are ignored, a new study has warned.
The report, released by the Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute, found growing rates of obesity and type-2 diabetes, along with an increased rate of people being diagnosed with an irregular heartbeat, are leading to a resurgence in the number of deaths attributed to heart disease.
The Change of Heart: Time to End Cardiovascular Complacency report argues that medical advancements over the past 50 years which have improved life expectancy and led to a significant overall decline in the rate of heart related deaths are now in jeopardy.
The co-author of the report, Professor Jonathan Shaw, warned that the decline has begun to level out over the past five years and he is concerned that it in future heart disease death rates will actually begin to increase.
“This stagnation is being fuelled by rising rates of type-2 diabetes and obesity and a new epidemic of age-related heart conditions,” Professor Shaw said.
“And I’m particularly concerned about the younger people in their 20s and 30s who are diagnosed with obesity and type -2 diabetes and how the high chances of that developing into heart disease in their 50s and 60s.”
The report stated that “too many Australians with risk factors for cardiovascular disease, such as high blood pressure or type 2 diabetes remain untreated or not treated to recommended targets.”
“Between half and two-thirds of the people diagnosed with these conditions do not receive adequate treatment,” Professor Shaw said of people with type-2 diabetes.
The Institute’s director Professor Tom Marwick said there was a perception that cardiovascular disease was under control in Australia because of the many years where the death rate has been in decline.