High blood pressure
High blood pressure is a leading risk factor for cardiovascular diseases, including coronary heart disease, which is the leading cause of avoidable deaths among Indigenous Australians (AIHW 2022c).
In 2018–19, almost 1 in 3 (31%) Indigenous adults (151,000) had high blood pressure (based on both measured and self-reported data). The prevalence of high blood pressure increased with age for both Indigenous and non-Indigenous adults. The greatest difference in age-standardised rate of high blood pressure between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians was found among those in the 25–34 age group, with the rate for Indigenous Australians nearly twice as high as non-Indigenous Australians. Rates of high blood pressure are similar among Indigenous Australians in non-remote and remote areas (Figure 4.22).
Figure 4.22: High blood pressure prevalence, by Indigenous status and remoteness, 2017–19
Many people with high blood pressure do not know they have the condition
People with high blood pressure may not know they have the condition–often there are no symptoms.
The 2018–19 National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Survey asked participants whether they had been told they had high blood pressure by a doctor or nurse, and their blood pressure was measured.
Of the Indigenous adults with measured high blood pressure (140/90 mmHg or greater):
- 25% (an estimated 28,400) had already been told they had high blood pressure by a health professional.
- 75% (83,600) had not been told they had high blood pressure by a health professional.
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