Genevieve Tabet

What is it?

Asthma is a chronic (long term) disease of the airways (breathing tubes that carry air into the lungs). It causes the muscles in airways to tighten and the lining of the airways to become swollen and inflamed, producing sticky mucus. This makes it difficult for the asthma sufferer to breathe.

Why is asthma a National Health Priority Area?

Asthma is a NHPA as it affects over 2.5 million Australians and is the most widespread chronic health problem in our country. There were 389 deaths due to asthma in 2013, and in 2008-9, 655 million dollars were spent on asthma in total.

Asthma Stats:

~ 1 in 5 people aged 15+ with asthma have a written asthma plan (see below)

~ There were 37,000 hospitalisations in 2013-14 where asthma was the principal diagnosis

~ Asthma is more common in males aged 0-14 but females aged 15+

~ 34% of people reported asthma interferes with their daily life, and 21.8% of people aged 15-25 required time off work, school or study due to their asthma

~ From 2007-11 the mortality rate for asthma among Indigenous Australians was 2.3 times that of non-Indigenous Australians

Causes of asthma

Biological: Allergy triggers (dust mites, pets, pollens etc) or viral infections

Behavioural: Smoking

Social: Cold air or changes in the weather

Treatment and Prevention

Asthma can be controlled with a regular preventer medication and using an inhaler or reliever, although there is no known cure. By ensuring babies and children are not exposed to cigarette smoke you can help to prevent the development of asthma.

Local Support Agencies

~ National Asthma Council Australia

~ Asthmapeeps

~ Australian Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy (ASCIA)

~ Asthma Australia

Health Promotion Strategies

Asthma suffers can control and better treat their asthma using Asthma Action Plans, which have information regarding their severity, correct treatment, language, culture, literacy level and ability to self manage

More information can be found at twitter accounts such as @AsthmaNSW or @WorldAsthmaDay