Two-minute Statement

15 May 2024

17 May is World Hypertension Day. High blood pressure—hypertension—is a common condition that affects one in three Australian adults. That’s around 6.8 million people. It’s a condition that I know all too well, sadly. I take every opportunity I can to raise more awareness in our community in the hope that it will help others to check and make sure that they are not also impacted by hypertension.

I was in this very chamber back in 2022 when I began to feel dizzy and sensed that something was not right. Thankfully, with the help of the nurse here at Parliament House, I was able to get the help that I needed. It turned out I had very high blood pressure, once she measured me—dangerously high, in fact.

After speaking with my GP I was subsequently diagnosed with high blood pressure. Now I am taking medication to ensure that my blood pressure remains within a normal level, and I have ongoing checks. I consider myself lucky that I was given a warning sign.

Hypertension is termed the silent killer because many people may not experience any symptoms and some have high blood pressure for years without knowing it until they have a stroke or a heart attack. If left untreated, it can be serious. In fact, high blood pressure is responsible for around 25,000 deaths a year. It’s the leading risk factor for the country’s top three killers: coronary heart disease, stroke and dementia.

So, to mark this World Hypertension Day, I strongly encourage everyone, particularly my colleagues in the building here, to visit your local chemist or GP and have your blood pressure measured. It’s important to know your risk and understand how you can lower your risk.