According to latest findings released by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW), those living in country and remote areas are more likely to die or need hospital care for cardiovascular disease (CVD).

People in major cities are more likely to visit a GP for a CVD consultation despite having lower rates of CVD and its risk factors, the report states.

According to the AIHW report, The burden of CVD per head of population increases with remoteness.

...being 22 per cent higher in inner and outer regional areas than in major cities and 15 per cent higher in remote and very remote areas. It also states that coronary heart disease is the leading specific cause of disease burden overall in inner and outer regional areas.

About 14 million Australians lived in the nation's major cities, stated the report which reviewed access to CVD medicines nationwide. Another six million lived in inner and regional areas, with remote and very remote areas containing a very small population by comparison, fewer than half a million people.

Indigenous Australians who live mainly in major cities than in other location account for one per cent of the city population, and a total of 28 per cent reside in the remotest areas.

The study also found that the rate of death from CVD among Indigenous Australians is twice the rate of other Australians and their need for CVD hospital treatment is double the rate.

The report stated, People in more remote areas had poorer health overall. They suffered more from CVD, which is reflected in higher rates of death and hospitalization in these regions.

From mid-2004 to mid-2008, the visits to GPs where a CVD or cholesterol problem was handled were estimated to be 72 million in total. These visits were significantly higher in major cities than in any other region.

While there were many factors contributing to the difference in the rate of CVD across the country, one constant was seen in the way GPs prescribe cardiovascular medicines, said the report. Similar pattern of treatments were seen across Australia, whether GPs are based in major cities, regional or remote areas.

Over 70 million prescriptions for cardiovascular medicines were distributed through the PBS to 3.8 million Australians from 2007 to 2008.