Over 1 Million Middle-Aged Australians at Risk of Heart Attacks Due to High Blood Pressure and Cholesterol

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By Reissa Su | March 31, 2014 7:52 PM EST

Over one million Australians with the average age of 45 are prone to high blood pressure and high cholesterol. The National Heart Foundation survey has found that the two risk factors for a heart attack have the lowest rate for Aussies living in New South Wales and Queensland.

However, based on the foundation's analysis, more than half of the population is still exposed to one of the risk factors for a heart attack. In a survey based on data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics, Victoria and Tasmania had the worst rates for high blood pressure and cholesterol in the whole of Australia.

National Heart Foundation Director of Cardiovascular Health Dr Robert Grenfell said the numbers showed that more than one million Australians were at risk of stroke and heart attack. Dr Grenfell explained that the more risk factors a person has, the higher the chances of experiencing a stroke or heart attack.

He said other risk factors like obesity, lack of exercise, poor diet, smoking and diabetes can also increase the risk. Dr Grenfell described high blood pressure and high cholesterol as "silent killers" since they had no noticeable symptoms. He advised people to have their cholesterol levels and blood pressure checked regularly.

Hospitals spending more on obese patients

Western Australia hospitals spend more than $240 million annually on overweight or obese patients. The Department of Health report revealed that public hospitals in the region struggle with the rising costs of healthcare, especially on patients with type 2 diabetes, congestive heart failure and hypertension.

The study has revealed that Western Australia's projected costs may double by 2021 or $488.4 million for obese patients.

The health department conducted a study on how much hospitals pay for emergency and in-patient expenses as total hospital costs are expected to increase rapidly. Dr Ben Scalley, who led the study, said the results showed alarming trends in healthcare services. He said Western Australia needs to create programmes and policies specifically designed for overweight or obese patients.

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