Objective: To measure the prevalence of untreated hypertension in Australian adults, and examine the associations with clinical and lifestyle factors.
Design: AusDiab, a cross-sectional survey conducted between May 1999 and December 2000, involved participants from 42 randomly selected census districts throughout Australia.
Participants: Of 20 347 eligible people aged ≥ 25 years who completed a household interview, 11 247 attended a physical examination (response rate, 55%).
Main outcome measures: The prevalence of hypertension (blood pressure ≥ 140/90 mmHg or self-reported use of antihypertensive drugs) and its treatment; associations of clinical and lifestyle factors with the treatment of hypertension; and adequacy of treatment for primary and secondary prevention of cardiovascular disease.
Results: The prevalence of hypertension was 28.6 per 100 (95% CI, 25.0–32.3), and the prevalence of untreated hypertension was 15.2 per 100 (95% CI, 13.2–17.2). Of those with untreated hypertension, 80.8% (95% CI, 74.7%–85.0%) had had a blood pressure check within the preceding 12 months. At least one modifiable lifestyle factor was present in 71.7% (95% CI, 68.5%–74.8%) of participants with untreated hypertension. Although lower risk clinical characteristics of younger age and lack of hyperlipidaemia were independently associated with untreated hypertension, 53.5% warranted treatment based on current cardiovascular disease prevention guidelines and multivariable absolute risk assessment.
Conclusions: Considerable scope remains for reducing the burden of cardiovascular disease through lifestyle modification and rational treatment of hypertension.
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