Over 2.5 million baby boomers, a recent repost warns, are at risk of potentially fatal heart attacks or strokes within the next five years. Researchers blame their high weight, lack of exercise or refusal to take blood pressure medication for the increased risk.
The report by Access Economics has revealed that 75 per cent people aged above 55 were inactive and overweight, more than 50 per cent had hypertension and high cholesterol and 25 per cent had diabetes - all risk factors for heart attack and stroke.
"We are seeing an unprecedented level of heart attack and stroke risk within the ageing community, a group we are now calling Generation Risk," The Sydney Morning Herald quoted Dr Greg Conner, a cardiologist and vascular physician at Liverpool Hospital, as saying.
"These are people who have always enjoyed good health, but they are living longer now and the older we get, the more risk factors we have."
Earlier considering risk factors in isolation, doctors are now saying that patients had a greater chance of suffering cardiovascular problems if more than one risk factor was present.
The root of the problem lies in the fact that none of these people seem to be aware of the direction in which they are headed, according to Dr Conner.
"It's an asymptomatic disease so people are just not convinced of the problem, but this is fixable. It seems like such a lost opportunity," he said.
The report predicted that about 70,000 people will have a heart attack or stroke this year, with 17,000 being fatal.
"Over-55s now represent one quarter of the Australian population and, with population ageing, this will only increase, bringing with it a dramatic rise in the level of cardiovascular risk," the director of Access Economics, Lynne Pezzullo, said.