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About asthma

Asthma is a long-term condition that affects a person's breathing. It is a significant cause of ill health and poor quality of life, in children and in adults.

Asthma is a type of chronic airways disease, as is chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

This snapshot provides the latest high-level statistics on asthma in Australia. More detailed information can be found in Asthma in Australia 2011, and in other publications from the AIHW and the Australian Centre for Airways disease Monitoring (ACAM).

Additional resources for asthma.

Information in the asthma snapshot was last updated in March 2016.

Asthma by numbers

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1 in 10

Australians are affected by asthma, based on self-reported data. That's over 2 million people.

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1 in 5

people aged 15 and over with asthma have a written asthma action plan. Children aged 0–14 were more likely to have a written asthma action plan (41%).

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$655 million

was spent on asthma in 2008–09 (last year for which reliable data are available). That's 0.9% of all direct health expenditure on diseases.

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hospitalisations in 2013–14 where asthma was the principal diagnosis. That’s a hospitalisation rate of 165 per 100,000 population.

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deaths due to asthma in 2013 (0.3% of all deaths). That's a death rate of 1.5 per 100,000 population.

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1.9 x

Indigenous Australians were nearly twice as likely to report having asthma compared with non-Indigenous Australians.