Australian deaths from asthma have fallen significantly over recent decades – to 441 in 2017 from a peak of almost 1,000 in 1989.
But while the drop is a great sign that asthma awareness campaigns are working, 441 is still far too many deaths, according to respiratory physician and Chair of the National Asthma Council Australia, Dr Jonathan Burdon.
‘Death from asthma doesn’t have to happen; we know most of them are avoidable,’ he told newsGP.
Dr Burdon is also concerned that death rates are actually rising among a particular group – baby-boomer women.
‘The number of deaths in the 55–65-year-old female age group doubled in the 2017 statistics [since 2016], from 16 to 32,’ Dr Burdon said.
Asthma has a higher prevalence among boys than girls, but the situation reverses once people reach adulthood. However, adult women’s higher prevalence is not enough to explain why their death rate is higher than men’s by almost 50%.

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