Australia under pressure

October 28, 2019

A new report has revealed Australia’s top 10 hotspots for high blood pressure, highlighting communities at greatest risk of stroke. 

To mark World Stroke Day today, Stroke Foundation and SiSU Health Group released Australia Under Pressure – Australia’s Biggest Blood Pressure Check Report calling on Australians to be aware of their stroke risk and how to manage it. 

Hot spots highlighted included the region of Schofields (New South Wales), Sunbury (Victoria), and Nailsworth (South Australia). 

The Report found the issue was widespread. Of the more than 500,000 free health checks delivered on SiSU Health Stations in 2018, 15 percent of participants had high blood pressure (hypertension). Men were found to be at higher risk than women.  

Stroke Foundation Health Promotion Advisory Subcommittee Chair Associate Professor Seana Gall said more than 80 percent of people who recorded high blood pressure did not know they had it prior to their health check.  

“High blood pressure is the largest modifiable risk factor for stroke, yet it can have no immediate symptoms,” A/Prof Gall said.  

“Over time high blood pressure puts extra stress on blood vessel walls. This can cause them to narrow or break down, eventually leading to a stroke. 

“High blood pressure is preventable and it is manageable, but the first step is getting your blood pressure checked. The best way to do this is with your GP, at your local pharmacy or on a digital SiSU Health Station.” 

Stroke can change lives in an instant. It strikes the brain, which controls everything we do, including our thoughts and movements. Stroke is one of Australia’s biggest killers and a leading cause of disability.  

The higher your blood pressure, the greater your risk of stroke. However, it can be managed through medication and prevented by avoiding smoking, eating a healthy diet, being physically active, maintaining a healthy weight and reducing alcohol consumption.  

Six million Australians live with high blood pressure, but it remains uncontrolled or untreated in 4.1 million of them.  

SiSU Health Group Managing Director Dr Noel Duncan is proud to partner with Stroke Foundation on the year-long Australia’s Biggest Blood Pressure Check campaign to encourage people to prioritise their health and reduce their risk of stroke.  

“It is pleasing to see a 60 percent reduction in high blood pressure in people who have had more than one health check on our SiSU Health Stations over time,” Dr Duncan said. 

“This shows, that with knowledge, Australians will take action to improve their health. Change is possible.” 

Stroke Foundation Chief Executive Officer Sharon McGowan urged Australians of all ages to get a health check today.  

“It’s free, fast and could save your life,” Ms McGowan said. 

“Research tells us the number of strokes in Australia would be almost cut in half (48 percent) if high blood pressure alone was eliminated.” 

This World Stroke Day we are being reminded that one in four people will have a stroke worldwide. The key message is #DontBeTheOne.  

Australia’s Biggest Blood Pressure Check 2018 - Key Statistics  
 More than 505,000 free health checks conducted on SiSU Health Stations in 400 locations nationally. 
 15 percent of participants had high blood pressure (17 percent men, 13 percent women). 
 82 percent of those checked did not know they had high blood pressure. 
 63 percent of people with high blood pressure were not on blood pressure lowering medication. 
 21 percent high stroke risk rating. 

Top 10 hot spots for high blood pressure nationally:

Rank: Suburb/Town/State/ % high BP 
1 Schofields NSW 46 
2 Sunbury VIC 36 
3 Nailsworth SA 35 
4 Currency Creek SA 35 
5 Stepney SA 34 
6 Renmark SA 34 
7 Pacific Palms NSW 33 
8 Miandetta TAS 31 
9 Templestowe VIC 30 
10 Kalapa QLD 30