More action on heart disease and stroke

The National Heart Foundation and Stroke Foundation have today commended the Minister for Health, Greg Hunt, for his announcement of a new national action plan tackle two of Australia’s biggest killers – heart disease and stroke.


The Federal Government will partner with the Heart Foundation and Stroke Foundation in developing the National Heart and Stroke Action Plan. The first plan of its kind, it will focus on the prevention, control and research of cardiovascular disease.


National Heart Foundation Group CEO Adjunct Professor John Kelly AM, commended Minister Hunt and the Federal Government for a long term commitment to reducing the impact of cardiovascular disease.


“The National Heart and Stroke Action Plan is an opportunity to avoid premature deaths and save lives through a coordinated response to cardiovascular disease, which includes two of Australia’s biggest killers – heart disease and stroke,” Professor Kelly said.


“Cardiovascular disease affects 4.2 million Australians, costs $8.8 billion each year in healthcare expenses and is a leading cause of death and disability. Despite these alarming facts, cardiovascular disease is mostly preventable.


“The Action Plan will plug gaps in Australia’s approach to the prevention and control of cardiovascular disease to reduce risk, improve detection and outcomes for patients, and reduce the immense impact cardiovascular disease has on the health system and the community.”


The number of people with cardiovascular disease is set to continue to increase as our population grows and ages. Lifestyle factors are also having an impact as overweight and obesity increase and some risk factors, such as poor nutrition, lack of physical activity, high blood cholesterol and high blood pressure continue at alarmingly high rates.


The Federal Government has provided $170,000 towards the development of the Heart and Stroke Action Plan.


Key facts on cardiovascular disease:

  • In 2016, the underlying cause of death in 43,963 people was cardiovascular disease.
  • CVD kills one Australian every 12 minutes.
  • 56,000 strokes occurred in 2017.
  • Accounts for almost 30 percent of all deaths in Australia.
  • Mostly preventable.
  • Costliest disease to treat: costing $8.8 billion each year in direct healthcare expenses, including $5 billion each year on hospital admissions and $1.65 billion on pharmaceuticals.
  • At least 60 percent higher in remote areas for hospitalisations and deaths.
  • More prevalent among low socio economic groups and in regional areas.


29 October 2018.