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The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) released
two new reports on respiratory conditions today.
The first report, Asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary
disease and other respiratory diseases in Australia, shows
that in 2004-05 about 6 million Australians reported suffering from
a chronic respiratory disease.
'Asthma specifically, affected over 2 million people - including
16% of Indigenous Australians,' said Dr Adrian Webster of the
AIHW's Respiratory Conditions and Primary Care Unit.
Hayfever affected about 3.2 million Australians and about 1.8
million people were affected by chronic sinusitis. Chronic
obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), the disease most closely
associated with smoking, affected almost 600,000 Australians.
The report also shows that diseases of the respiratory system
were the third most common underlying cause of death in 2006.
General practitioners managed respiratory problems, such as
asthma, more than any other condition. Respiratory problems were
managed during almost 20% of encounters with GPs.
A second report, Asthma among older people in
Australia, released today, shows that most deaths from asthma
occur among older people.
'Of the deaths due to asthma, 92% occurred among those aged 45
years and over, and the average age at death was 79 years,' Dr
'The presence of other medical conditions often makes the
management of asthma in older people more complex,' he said.
Many asthma deaths are associated with chronic obstructive
pulmonary disease (COPD), bronchiectasis or acute respiratory
Canberra, 20 May 2010
Further information: Adrian Webster, AIHW, tel.
(02) 6244 1119, mob. 0407 915 851.
For media copies of the report: Publications
Officer, AIHW, tel. (02) 6244 1032.
Asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and other
respiratory diseases in Australia and Asthma among older
people in Australia (report summary) (full
Asthma among older people in Australia (report