Research shows high blood pressure our leading death risk

HIGH blood pressure is Australia's number-one death risk factor - contributing to 28,500 deaths every year.

An international study led by Melbourne University professor Alan Lopez found blood pressure was the top cause of death in Australian men and women and was followed by smoking and high cholesterol.

Drug use was one of the fastest growing risk factors in poor health among Australians - up 53% from 1990 to 2013.

Despite cholesterol- related deaths being in the top three, the total dropped 25% over the 23-year period examined.

"While our study shows that public policy in Australia has been effective in reducing the health impacts of high cholesterol and insufficient fruit and vegetables in our diet, progress against some large, avoidable risks has been less impressive," Prof Lopez said.

"Smoking, high blood pressure and obesity are still prevalent among adult Australians and remain a large cause of disease burden. We can, and ought, to be more conscientious in reducing these exposures among all Australians, not only those considered at high risk."

The research is published in The Lancet and is part of a global cause-of-death study.

Researchers looked at 79 risk factors in 188 countries between 1990 and 2013. - APN NEWSDESK



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