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People with asthma often have other chronic diseases and long-term conditions. These are referred to as 'comorbidities' —two or more health problems that are present at the same time. Comorbidities are typically more common in older age groups.

The chronic conditions selected for this analysis include cardiovascular disease, back problems, mental health problems, arthritis, diabetes, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and cancer. They were selected because they are common in the general population and cause significant burden.

Factors that can affect health in a negative way are referred to as risk factors. For asthma, as for many other chronic conditions, there are two types of risk factors: those that increase the chance of developing asthma in the first place, and those that increase the chance that a person who already has asthma will develop additional health problems.

The information presented within these pages is based on self-reported data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) 2014–15 National Health Survey (NHS). The NHS data reported in these pages includes people who reported current asthma (in the last 12 months).

In this section

Information included in these webpages was last updated in August 2016.

Figure shows 6 in 10 people.

6 in 10

Australians with asthma currently have at least one other chronic condition (58%), based on self-reported data.

Column graph shows 29% of people with asthma also have mental health problems, and 23% have CVD, and 23% have arthritis.


of people with asthma also report mental and behavioural problems, making this the most common of the selected comorbidities, followed by cardiovascular disease (23%) and arthritis (23%).

Bar chart shows 36% of people with asthma also are obese, compared to 27% of people without asthma.

1.3 x

People with asthma were 1.3x as likely to report being obese (36%) compared to people without asthma (27%).

Pie chart shows 63% of people aged 65+ with asthma also have CVD.


of people with asthma aged 65 and over also report cardiovascular disease.