Productivity Burden of Hypertension in Australia

Hypertension. 2019 Apr;73(4):777-784. doi: 10.1161/HYPERTENSIONAHA.118.12606.


Hypertension increases the risk of premature death and reduces work productivity. We estimated the burden of hypertension in Australia in terms of productivity lost over the working lifetime of the Australian population. Life table models were used to estimate excess mortality, years of life lost, and productivity-adjusted life years lost among Australians with hypertension and of working age (20 to 69 years), with simulated follow-up until age 70 years. In 2017, an estimated 4.1 million working-age Australians (25.9%) had hypertension, of whom an estimated 21.6% were treated and controlled, 17.0% were treated but uncontrolled, and 61.4% were untreated. With simulated follow-up, over 149 846 excess deaths leading to a loss of over 548 794 years of life were predicted to occur in the hypertension cohort. Hypertension also caused the loss of 609 801 productivity-adjusted life years (2.4%), equating to AUD$137.2 billion in lost gross domestic product over the working lifetime. A 25% reduction in hypertension prevalence, in line with the World Health Organisation Global Action Plan targets, would lead to 155 450 productivity-adjusted life years saved over the working lifetime, whereas the adequate treatment and control of all of those with hypertension would lead to 342 538 productivity-adjusted life years saved. This equates to AUD$34.3 billion and $76.4 billion in gross domestic product retained over the working lifetime of the cohort, respectively. Our findings highlight the considerable economic burden of hypertension in Australia and that effective strategies aimed at the prevention and adequate control of hypertension are likely to pay significant economic dividends for individuals, employers, and governments in the longer term.

Keywords: absenteeism; cardiovascular diseases; cost of illness; hypertension; presenteeism.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Australia / epidemiology
  • Cost of Illness*
  • Efficiency*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypertension / economics*
  • Hypertension / epidemiology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prevalence
  • Quality-Adjusted Life Years*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Survival Rate / trends
  • Work / economics*
  • Young Adult