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4364.0.55.005 - Australian Health Survey: Biomedical Results for Chronic Diseases, 2011-12  
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 05/08/2013  First Issue
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Contents >> Key Findings


KEY FINDINGS

Results in this publication contain information from the National Health Measures Survey (NHMS), the biomedical component of the 2011–13 Australian Health Survey (AHS). Around 11,000 respondents aged 5 years and over across Australia voluntarily provided blood and/or urine samples, which were tested for a range of chronic disease and nutrition biomarkers. This publication is the first release of information from the NHMS and focuses on the test results for chronic diseases, including:
  • Diabetes
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Chronic kidney disease
  • Liver function

Refer to Appendix A for the full list of tests conducted.

Diabetes
  • In 2011–12, 5.1% of people aged 18 years and over had diabetes.
  • This comprised 4.2% with known diabetes and 0.9% with diabetes newly diagnosed by the blood test results. This suggests that there was approximately one newly diagnosed case of diabetes for every four diagnosed cases.
  • Men were more likely than women to have diabetes (6.3% compared with 3.9%). This was the case for both known diabetes and newly diagnosed diabetes.
  • A further 3.1% of Australian adults were identified by their test results to be at high risk of diabetes.

Cardiovascular disease
  • Around one in three Australian adults (32.8%) had high levels of total cholesterol according to their blood test results, yet only 10.1% of this group self-reported high cholesterol as a current health condition.
  • One in three Australian adults (33.2%) had high levels of LDL 'bad' cholesterol and 23.1% had lower than normal levels of HDL 'good' cholesterol.
  • In 2011–12, 13.9% of people aged 18 years and over had high triglycerides.
  • Three in every four adults (76.4%) aged 45 years and over had dyslipidaemia. That is, they were taking cholesterol-lowering medication or had one or more of high total cholesterol, low HDL cholesterol, high LDL cholesterol or high triglyceride levels based on their test results.

Chronic kidney disease
  • In 2011–12, one in ten (10.0%) Australian adults had test results that showed signs of chronic kidney disease, with similar rates for men and women.
  • Around 4% of all adults were in Stage 1, 2.5% were in Stage 2 and less than 1% were in Stages 4–5.

Liver function

A range of factors, including fatty liver disease, infections and excessive alcohol consumption can prevent the liver from functioning properly. The NHMS included two tests for liver function: gamma glutamyl transferase (GGT) and alanine aminotransferase (ALT). These tests check the liver’s health and can detect liver damage.
  • In 2011–12, 11.0% of Australian adults had abnormal levels of ALT in their blood, with men more likely to have the condition than women (13.8% compared with 8.3%).
  • Around 2.1 million (or 12.4%) people aged 18 years and over were estimated to have abnormal levels of GGT.

Exposure to tobacco smoke
  • In 2011–12, the pattern for cotinine exposure was very similar to that for self-reported smoking for most age groups.
  • 87.0% of current smokers aged 18 years and over had cotinine levels indicating exposure to tobacco smoke, compared with only 5.7% of those who were ex-smokers and 0.3% of those who had never smoked.

Anaemia

Anaemia is caused from a decrease in either the number of red blood cells in the body or the quantity of haemoglobin within red blood cells. When a person is anaemic, their heart has to work harder to ensure that muscles and organs get the oxygen they need.
  • In 2011–12, 4.5% of people aged 18 years and over had haemoglobin levels indicating a risk of anaemia, with women more likely to be at risk than men (6.4% compared with 2.5%).


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