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Press Release: Transforming Blood Pressure Control – Urgent Call to Action for MPs

High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, stands as the foremost risk factor for Australia’s top three killers: coronary heart disease, stroke, and dementia. Despite this, Australia lags behind nations like Germany, Canada, and the US in blood pressure control rates.


Of the one in three Australian adults who have high blood pressure, only half of them know they have it and of that, only a third have it under control. This has major health equity and economic implications across Australia disproportionately affecting those in regional and remote areas.


Today, Members of Parliament were confronted with the realities of these numbers within their own electorates. They were called upon to be catalysts for change and take blood pressure control into their communities at an event at Parliament House, Canberra.


Belinda Bennett was 34 and pregnant with her first child when she realised one of the biggest dangers of high blood pressure – its silence. She felt completely fine but had life-threatening high blood pressure and pre-eclampsia – which, if untreated, could cause both her and her baby to die.


A few years later, her husband was also told he had high blood pressure and advised to take medication by his GP. He also felt fine. He was fit and healthy and didn’t follow it up. At 53, he had a heart attack and cardiac arrest. He was lucky to survive.


She shared her experience saying, “We generally don’t understand the importance of knowing and managing our blood pressure. But we need to change that. We need people to understand just how important their blood pressure is and to get it regularly checked.”


Today’s call to action was made by the National Hypertension Taskforce, a joint initiative of the Australian Cardiovascular Alliance and Hypertension Australia, which has set the goal of increasing Australia’s controlled blood pressure from 32% to 70% by 2030. The Taskforce has 25 members across the health spectrum including the Heart Foundation and Stroke Foundation as well as peak bodies, professional societies, clinicians, researchers and consumers with lived experience.


Professor Alta Schutte, Co-chair of the Hypertension Taskforce, stressed the power of collective and community action, highlighting prevention, detection, and treatment as the pillars of the Taskforce’s roadmap which was launched at the event. “There’s a role for all of us to play in this,” she affirmed. She urged all parliamentarians to play their part, leading the way for change in their electorates.


Her call was reinforced by Hypertension Taskforce Co-chair Professor Markus Schlaich who encouraged MPs to lead by example, getting their own blood pressure checked and urging their constituents to do the same.


Professor Schlaich said “May Measure Month is approaching. This global blood pressure awareness campaign encourages everyone to get their blood pressure checked during May. Let’s start with getting our own blood pressure checked. Together, let’s empower all Australians to know their numbers and take charge of their health.”


Maria Vamvakinou MP and Senator Wendy Askew, Co-chairs of the Parliamentary Friends of Heart and Stroke Foundations hosted the Hypertension Taskforce event which was presented by the Australian Cardiovascular Alliance, Hypertension Australia, the Heart Foundation and the Stroke Foundation.


Media enquiries

Kerry Doyle, ACvA Executive Director, kerry.doyle@ozheart.org M: 0417 456 979

Nina Cullen, ACvA Communications Manager, nina.cullen@ozheart.org


Prof Schlaich, Kerry Doyle PSM OAM, Senator Wendy Askew, David Lloyd, Lisa Murphy, Maria Vamvakinou MP, Prof Jason Kovacic, Prof Alta Shutte

Terry Young MP, Lisa Murphy, Senatr Kerrynne Liddle MP, Warren Entsch MP, Prof Alta Shutte & Prof Markus Schlaich

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