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You are here:
Asthma will continue to rank as one of the major causes of
disease burden in Australia for the next two decades, with
substantial impacts on both individuals and the community,
according to a report released today by the Australian Institute of
Health and Welfare.
'This burden is particularly heavy for children - asthma is the
leading cause of burden of disease among children, ahead of anxiety
and depression', said Prof Guy Marks of the AIHW's Australian
Centre for Asthma Monitoring.
'In fact around 61% of the total burden of asthma in the
community is borne by children aged 0 to 14 years. For this age
group asthma is more a burden for boys than for girls, but from age
15 onwards, women bear a heavier burden due to asthma.'
'Most of the impact of asthma is on physical functioning and on
the ability to perform social roles, leading to lost years of
healthy life, and sometimes, sadly, lost years of life', Prof Marks
'There are several ways to estimate the burden of disease but in
this report we used disability-adjusted life years or DALYs to
quantify the burden of asthma.'
One DALY represents one lost year of healthy life due to
disability or premature death.
The report found that overall, in 2003, the equivalent of 63,100
years of healthy life were lost due to asthma-59,054 of these due
to years lived with disability and 4,045 due to premature
Among children, asthma contributed over 17% of total
disability-adjusted life years. Anxiety and depression, the next
highest contributor to disease burden in children, came in at just
Asthma was the eleventh-leading contributor to the overall
burden of disease in Australia, accounting for more than 2% of the
total number of disability-adjusted life years.
Chronic respiratory disease, which includes asthma, was the
fourth-leading contributor to the Indigenous health gap in the
burden of non-communicable conditions.
'It accounted for 9% of the gap, behind cardiovascular disease
(23%), diabetes (12%) and mental disorders (12%),' Prof Marks
'Two key strategies likely to lead to reduced burden of disease
attributable to asthma are a written asthma action plan and regular
use of medications,' Prof Marks said.
The report, Burden of disease due to asthma in Australia
2003, summarises the asthma-related findings of two key AIHW
reports - The burden of disease and injury in Australia
2003 and The burden of disease and injury in Aboriginal
and Torres Strait Islander peoples 2003.
Tuesday 01 September 2009
Further information: Prof Guy Marks, AIHW, tel.
02 9411 0466; mob. 0419 251565
For media copies of the report: Publications
Officer, AIHW, tel. (02) 6244 1032.
Availability: Check the AIHW Publications area
for the availability of Burden of disease due to
asthma in Australia 2003