Collaborative approach to treat silent killer

Stroke Foundation

Two leading cardiovascular charities have joined forces to tackle one of the country's biggest killers.

Stroke Foundation and Heart Foundation are collaborating to prevent stroke and heart disease in Australia by advertising for the position of a Heart and Stroke Project Coordinator.

The role will support the National Hypertension Taskforce which was established to improve blood pressure control rates in Australia. Its goal is to double Australia's rates of controlled blood pressure from 32 per cent to 70 per cent by 2030.

Stroke Foundation Chief Executive Officer Dr Lisa Murphy said high blood pressure is responsible for around 41 per cent of strokes in Australia.

"High blood pressure puts a strain on blood vessels all over the body, including the arteries that lead to the brain, that means the heart has to work much harder to keep the circulation going," Dr Murphy said.

The Taskforce emerged from the Australia Cardiovascular Alliance's Clinical Themes Initiative which also covers heart failure, coronary artery disease, stroke and arrhythmias. The Taskforce is a partnership between Hypertension Australia which is led by Professor Markus Schlaich and the ACvA led by Professor Gemma Figtree.

"The whole of sector approach and support is an exciting development in hypertension. Working together is the key to making a difference to health outcomes," Dr Murphy said.

Heart Foundation Chief Executive Officer David Lloyd said the new role will address this silent killer in Australia by ensuring a united and collaborative approach.

"This is a significant step in the fight against hypertension. We know that high blood pressure is the biggest modifiable risk factor of stroke and heart disease so anything we can do to reduce that risk and improve health outcomes for Australians, is welcome," Mr Lloyd said.

National Hypertension Taskforce Co-Chair and Secretary of the Australian Cardiovascular Alliance Professor Alta Schutte said high blood pressure affects one in three Australian adults.

"If all Australians currently living with high blood pressure were properly treated, we could save as many as 83,000 lives," Professor Schutte says.

"Improving these rates in Australia is not only critical but possible. We can and have to do better if we want to save lives."

Taskforce Co-Chair and President of Hypertension Australia Professor Markus Schlaich said increasing awareness of the dangers that come with high blood pressure, measuring blood pressure accurately in the community, and lowering BP with lifestyle modification and a combination of the safe medications available will have a huge impact on cardiovascular health for all Australians.

"This new role is the first step in achieving our ambitious goal of controlling high blood pressure in this country. We're taking a united approach to reduce the burden of chronic disease in Australia."

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