Asthma FactsInformation Sheet Asthma Facts

o Over 2.2 million Australians have asthma.

o People with asthma experience episodes of wheezing, chest tightness and shortness of breath due to narrowing of the airways within the lungs.

o Asthma tends to be long-lasting but the symptoms may occur frequently or only occasionally.

o The prevalence of asthma in Australia is relatively high, by international standards.

o More boys than girls have asthma. However, after teenage years, asthma is more common in women than in men.

o Written instructions on how to recognise when asthma is getting worse and what action to take when it does get worse can help many people control their asthma and stay out of hospital. These instructions are known as Asthma Action Plans.

o People with asthma rate their health lower than people without asthma.

o A greater proportion of people with asthma had days away from work or study in the last two weeks (11.4%) than people without asthma (7.9%) preceding a survey.

o Of all people with asthma, 2.6% had taken days away from work or study and 3.2% reported other days of reduced activity in the two weeks preceding a survey.

o The risk of dying from asthma increases with age. The major of deaths occur in people aged 65 years and over.

o 397 people died from asthma in 2002 – the latest figures.