A new study indicates almost 60 per cent of Australians who have high blood pressure are not receiving medical treatment for the condition, and some may not even know they have high blood pressure.
The study, published in European Heart Journal Supplements, was carried out by researchers based at the Dobney Hypertension Centre – a joint initiative between The University of Western Australia, RPH Research Foundation and Royal Perth Hospital.
"The findings demonstrate that elevated blood pressure remains highly prevalent in Australia and that hypertension control rates remain unacceptably low, compared to global rates."Professor Markus Schlaich
High blood pressure (hypertension) is one of the biggest risk factors for stroke, coronary heart disease and chronic kidney disease. The rate of uncontrolled blood pressure in Australia is 46 per cent, substantially higher than the global rate of 38 per cent.
Head of the Dobney Hypertension Centre, Professor Markus Schlaich, said the study (part of the annual worldwide May Measurement Month initiative) showed only 54 per cent of people who were treated for hypertension had controlled blood pressure, meaning the current treatments being prescribed to 46 per cent of patients were not working effectively.
“The findings demonstrate that elevated blood pressure remains highly prevalent in Australia and that hypertension control rates remain unacceptably low, compared to global rates,” Professor Schlaich said.
“About a third of Australian adults have hypertension, so it’s essential that we continue our efforts to increase community awareness about the importance of monitoring blood pressure.”
Professor Schlaich said tackling some of the major contributors to blood pressure elevation, such as alcohol consumption and obesity, needed to form part of modern management strategies.
“Raised blood pressure is the number one cause of preventable death worldwide, accounting for the loss of more than 10 million lives each year,” he said.
“I encourage every adult Australian to take advantage of the free blood pressure checks currently being offered until 30 November.”
The free blood pressure readings are part of the annual May Measurement Month global screening campaign which has been extended to November this year.
To receive a blood pressure check, people can phone the Dobney Hypertension Centre on 9224 0209 to arrange an appointment.
The May Measurement Month aims to highlight the importance of providing access to blood pressure readings and encouraging people to get regularly checked, even if they think they are not at risk.