Taskforce tackles uncontrolled blood pressure

Nigel Stocks

Professor Nigel Stocks, Head of the Discipline of General Practice at the University of Adelaide, has been selected on the National Hypertension Taskforce.

A leading academic general practitioner from the University of Adelaide with a strong interest and track record in cardiovascular health has been included on a new National Hypertension Taskforce that wants to double blood pressure (BP) control rates in Australia by 2030.

Professor Nigel Stocks, Head of the Discipline of General Practice at the University of Adelaide, is one of 27 members representing 25 different organisations selected on the taskforce, that has been established by the Australian Cardiovascular Alliance (ACvA) and Hypertension Australia (formerly the High Blood Pressure Research Council of Australia).

It has an ambitious goal of doubling Australia’s rate of controlled BP from 32 per cent to 70 per cent by 2030.

Professor Stocks will assist in the development of a long-term strategy to improve the BP control rates in Australia and to support the delivery of the strategy through mechanisms such as working groups responsible for developing action plans to reach the agreed goal.

His experience in general practice and research background will be critical in developing the taskforce’s strategic plan and key to devising approaches to maximise engagement with GPs around the country to achieve the goal of doubling control rates.

“Hypertension is a commonly treated condition in Australian general practice, which is more common as people get older but can have tragic consequences if not identified in younger age groups,” Professor Stocks said.

“Australians should get their blood pressure measured every two years from age 18 and after you turn 45 it should be part of a cardiovascular disease risk assessment that can be performed by your GP.

“High blood pressure is readily treatable.  Losing weight, reducing alcohol consumption, stopping smoking, exercising more and dietary change can all help, but many people will need one or more antihypertensive medication to achieve adequate control.”

The taskforce is co-led by Professor Alta Schutte from the University of New South Wales (UNSW), and Professor Markus Schlaich from the University of Western Australia.

One in three Australian adults have high blood pressure, also known as hypertension, which is the leading risk factor for Australia’s top three killers – coronary heart disease, stroke and dementia.

Over time, this silent killer damages your heart, blood vessels and every part of your body.

Based on a 2017–18 Australian Bureau of Statistics National Health Survey, only half of the people with high blood pressure know they have it, and of those, only 32 per cent have it under control.

Tagged in news brief, health & medical sciences, cardiovascular disease