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Asthma Sabotaged By Factors Beyond Patients' Control

Good Asthma Control For Patients Is Often Sabotaged By Factors Beyond Their Control

World Asthma Day
Tuesday 6th May

World Asthma Day, on Tuesday May 6, is an annual event organised by the Global Initiative for Asthma (GINA) to improve asthma awareness and treatment around the world. Asthma affects approximately 235 million people and causes an estimated 250,000 deaths annually worldwide. The theme for 2014 is You can control your asthma.

Dr Kyle Perrin, Medical Director for the Asthma Foundation says “In New Zealand one in nine adults and one in seven children aged under 16 years takes asthma medication (over 460,000 kiwis in 2006). For good asthma control it is important to keep using your medication as prescribed; to visit your health professional regularly and to get an asthma management plan.” Asthma management plans should be filled out with your health professional, they are designed to help manage your asthma and recognise when it is deteriorating before it gets to an emergency situation.

“If all asthmatic patients had good control of their symptoms we would see a dramatic decrease in hospital admissions.” said Dr Kyle Perrin, “However many patients with bad asthma have difficulty controlling their condition due to factors which are outside of their control.”

The link between asthma and poor social circumstances, such as overcrowding and living in a damp, cold house is well documented. Many New Zealanders living in poverty do not have the opportunity to control their asthma as well as they could. As well as sub-standard housing, they may be less likely to visit their GP or pick up prescriptions due to financial constraints.

Addressing these social determinants of health will go a long way to improving asthma control and reducing hospital admissions. Asthma Foundation chief executive Angela Francis believes that the time to take action is now.

“We are asking the Government to improve incomes for all low income families with children, to develop a housing strategy that will result in all children being well housed, and to improve access to primary health care for all New Zealanders. Some people may ask whether we can afford to do these things in tough economic times; the real question is, how can we afford not too?”

• One in seven New Zealand children and one in nine adults takes asthma medication.
• New Zealand has the second highest rate of asthma in the world, following the UK.
• People still die from asthma, with 79 deaths in 2006, 61 in 2007 and 65 in 2008.
• About 800,000 New Zealanders are affected by asthma and other respiratory conditions.
• It is estimated that 550,000 school days in New Zealand are lost each year due to asthma.
• New Zealand’s economic burden of asthma is conservatively estimated at over $800,000,000 per year.
• Asthma affects approximately 235 million people worldwide and the prevalence is rising.
• Asthma causes an estimated 250,000 deaths annually worldwide.

About the Asthma Foundation
The Asthma Foundation is New Zealand’s sector authority on asthma and other respiratory illnesses. We advocate to government and raise awareness of respiratory illnesses, fund research for better treatments and educate on best practice. We provide resources on our website and support our affiliated asthma societies and trusts in providing education, support and advice. For more information, visit the Asthma Foundation’s website www.asthmafoundation.org.nz.

ENDS

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