Asthma is a chronic inflammatory disorder of the airways. People with asthma experience episodes of wheezing, breathlessness and chest tightness due to widespread narrowing of the airways.
1 in 9 Australians reported asthma in 2014–15
About 419 deaths were due to asthma in 2014 (0.3% of all deaths)
1 in 5 people aged 15 and over with asthma have a written asthma action plan, based on 2014–15 self-reported survey data
Death from asthma is uncommon. Effective management can reduce the risk.
In 2014 there were 419 deaths due to asthma in Australia, which corresponds to a mortality rate of 1.5 per 100,000 population. The statistics presented in this section relate to deaths where asthma was listed as the underlying cause of death.
The rate of mortality due to asthma has remained steady at around 1.6 deaths per 100,000 population over the 10 years from 2005 to 2014.
Attribution of death due to asthma is more certain among those aged 5–34, thus this age group is commonly used for examining time trends. There has been little change in the rate of mortality due to asthma in this age group over the last 10 years, with the rate 0.4 per 100,000 population or lower.
For information on long-term trends, see General Record of Incidence of Mortality (GRIM) books.
Source: AIHW analysis of AIHW National Mortality Database (Data table).
Certain population groups have a higher mortality rate for asthma. Asthma mortality rates are higher for people living in more remote areas and for people living in areas of lower socioeconomic status . Asthma mortality rates are also higher among Indigenous Australians compared with non-Indigenous Australians after adjusting for differences in age structure. During the period from 2010 to 2014, the mortality rate for asthma among Indigenous Australians was 2.4 per 100,000 population, which was 1.6 times that of non-Indigenous Australians (1.5 per 100,000), based on the five jurisdictions with adequate Indigenous identification (NSW, Qld, NT, WA and SA).
The differences between these population subgroups may be due to differences in smoking rates, access to preventative health services, or other social and environmental factors. Smoking rates are higher among people living in more remote areas, among people living in areas of lower socioeconomic status, and among Indigenous Australians .
For more information about asthma mortality, refer to Mortality from asthma and COPD in Australia .
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