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
1 in 5 people aged 15 and over with asthma have a written asthma action plan, based on 2014–15 self-reported survey data
About 419 deaths were due to asthma in 2014 (0.3% of all deaths)
Many people with asthma do not have a current written asthma action plan although it is recommended in national guidelines.
A written asthma action plan, prepared for patients with asthma by a health care professional, can help people with asthma to manage their condition and reduce the severity of acute asthma flare-ups.
Asthma action plans have formed part of the National Asthma Council Australia's guidelines for the management of asthma for 24 years , and have been promoted in public education campaigns (including by the National Asthma Council Australia) on the basis that individualised written action plans reduce the risk of dying of asthma and improve asthma health outcomes .
In 2011–12, only 20% of people aged 15 and over, and 41% of children aged 0–14, with asthma had an asthma action plan (Figure 1), despite recommendations that every person with asthma have an asthma action plan (for more information see the recommendations here: Australian Asthma Handbook - action plans).
Across all ages, an estimated 542,000 people, that is 24% of people with asthma reported having a written asthma action plan, an increase from 16% in 2004–05  and 21% in 2007–08 .
Among people with asthma, adults aged 25–44 were the least likely to have a written action plan (17%) . Children aged 0–14 were the most likely to have a written asthma plan (41%), an increase from 26% in 2004–05 .
Note: Self-reported doctor-diagnosed current and long-term asthma.
Source: Australian Health Survey: Health Service Usage and Health Related Actions, 2011–12, Table 7 (Data table).
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