Heart failure

Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death for women: snapshot

Wednesday, 19 Jun 2019

Latest figures confirm that cardiovascular disease is a leading cause of illness and death among Australian women.

Over half a million Australian women have cardiovascular disease and it accounts for almost one-third of all deaths among women, according to a snapshot of national statistics released by  the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW).

Key findings from the report show include:

  • An estimated 510,000 Australian women had cardiovascular disease in 2017-18.
  • 22,200 women had an acute coronary event – about 60 events per day.
  • 17,900 women had a stroke per year – about 50 per day.
  • 22,200 women died from cardiovascular disease.
  • 206,000 women had coronary heart disease.
  • 37,000 women had heart failure.
  • Cardiovascular disease was the most common cause of death in women, responsible for 29% of the 76,600 females who died in Australia in 2016.

“Cardiovascular disease is often seen as an issue predominantly affecting men, but there is increasing recognition that aspects of its prevention, treatment and management are unique to women,” said AIHW spokesperson Miriam Lum On.

The report also showed that rates of acute coronary events and deaths in women have fallen substantially over recent decades. Between 2001 and 2016, the rate among women fell by 57%, from 465 to 215 events per 100,000.

The overall incidence of stroke for women fell by 25% between 2001 and 2015, but rates rose among younger women, by 16% for those aged 35-44, and by 12% for those aged 45-54.

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