Media Releases

Asthma deaths stubbornly high in Western Australia

22 Nov 2021

New data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) released today show that asthma-related deaths remain stubbornly high in Western Australia, especially for women aged over 75 years.

Figures commissioned by the National Asthma Council Australia show that there were 24 asthma-related deaths in WA in 2020, comprised of 15 females and 9 males. This is a slight decrease from 2019 when there was 27 deaths (20 females and 7 males).

Those aged 75 and over accounted for 66 per cent of all asthma-related deaths in Western Australia (16 of 24).

Nationally there were 417 asthma-related deaths recorded in 2020 made up of 274 females and 143 males.

Respiratory Physician and National Asthma Council Australia spokesperson, Dr Jonathan Burdon AM, said that asthma is one of Australia’s most widespread chronic health conditions and asthma mortality rates are high by international comparison.

“It is concerning that the number of women dying from asthma has remained stubbornly high over the last few years rather than going down and women now account for almost two-thirds of all deaths from asthma in Western Australia.

“Asthma remains a significant cause of ill health, disability and poor quality of life in WA and women aged over 75 are still the most at risk, with 80 per cent of all female asthma deaths coming from this age group.

“This is a time of life when there could be huge changes in living circumstances that could include losing a life partner, changes to routine after retirement, as well as the need to start taking other medications, so the focus on asthma risk can lessen,” he said.

Dr Burdon said that while there is currently no cure for asthma, good asthma control can prevent symptoms such as wheezing and breathlessness from occurring, or progressing into a severe flare-up that could end in death.

“Australia has one of the highest prevalence rates of asthma in the world with 2.7 million Australians (1 in 10) affected by asthma and it is crucial that people are aware of the risks.

“The National Asthma Council Australia is urging all Western Australians with asthma to check in with your doctor to review your Written Asthma Action Plan, make sure you are using your inhaler properly and that you know what to do during a thunderstorm or asthma emergency,” he said.

nationalasthma.org.au

Click here to link to 2020 mortality infographic

For further information or an interview with Dr Burdon please contact: Donna Le Page, Le Page PR Mobile: 0429 825 703 Emaildonna@lepage-pr.com.au

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