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Heart disease and stroke
Cardiovascular disease (heart, stroke and blood vessel diseases) is the leading cause of death in Australia of both men and women with 45,600 deaths attributed to CVD in Australia in 2011. Cardiovascular disease kills one Australian every 12 minutes. It is one of Australia's largest health problems. Despite improvements over the last few decades, it remains one of the biggest burdens on our economy.
Causes of cardiovascular disease
Causes include high blood pressure, high cholesterol, overweight and obesity, physical inactivity, low fruit and vegetable intake, alcohol and smoking.
There are many risk factors for cardiovascular disease, some of which cannot be altered, such as increasing age and family history, and some of which can, including smoking, physical inactivity, poor diet, high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol and obesity. Most Australians have at least one risk factor. For example, more than 90% of people fail to consume the recommended daily intake of vegetables, and almost 60% do not get enough physical activity.
Treatments vary depending on the disease and the person’s history however cardiovascular medicines are key to preventing and treating cardiovascular disease. With appropriate medication, patients with cardiovascular disease or those at risk of the disease can improve their quality of life and increase their life expectancy. Surgery is also a treatment for some cardiovascular disease patients.
Cardiovascular research at the Perkins
Research into cardiovascular disease is currently being carried out at the molecular level by the Laboratory for Molecular Endocrinology and Pharmacology.
In 2017, the Perkins recruited an internationally renowned cardiologist as the first Wesfarmers Chair in Cardiovascular Disease.