The Australian Government, in partnership with the National Heart Foundation of Australia, has introduced guidelines for clinicians to detect and manage the risk of cardiovascular disease early.

Launched on behalf of the Australian Chronic Disease Prevention Alliance, the guidelines are in line with National Health and Medical Research Council standards.

They have also been recommended by the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (GPs).

In addition, a calculator has been designed to enable general practitioners to precisely estimate the risk of cardiovascular disease in patients.

The government has allocated $1m in its budget for this financial year for implementing these guidelines and embedding the calculator into GP software.

The guidelines and calculator are intended to provide a risk equation to help GPs better identify people at high risk of heart disease and in need of treatment.

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Australian Health and Aged Care Minister Mark Butler said: “The cardiovascular disease calculator is the new gold standard in assessing the risk of cardiovascular disease in Australians.

“The new guidelines will help medical professionals across the country to provide earlier detection and treatment for the disease, bringing new hope and help to thousands of Australians.”

The updated guidelines complement other government measures to reduce the cardiovascular disease burden.

These measures include implementing 60-day prescriptions for hypertension, high cholesterol and other heart conditions, as well as extending the temporary MBS Heart Health Assessment items.

National Heart Foundation CEO David Lloyd said: “Many years from now, we will look back on this day and note that the new guideline was a major turning point in saving many Australians from cardiovascular disease.

“We thank the Australian Government for their support and leadership on preventative heart health, having funded the development of this guideline and supported the Heart Foundation with its implementation, and having also extended Medicare Heart Health Checks.”