Asthma-related deaths drop among women

Asthma-related deaths among women have decreased in Australia, while deaths among men are stagnant.
Asthma-related deaths among women have decreased in Australia, while deaths among men are stagnant.

The number of asthma-related deaths among Australian women has dropped across the country but the rate for men remains stagnant, new data shows.

Figures released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics show there were 389 asthma-related deaths in Australia last year, with 250 women and 139 men dying of the respiratory disease.

The numbers is less than the 441 deaths - 300 women and 141 men - recorded in 2017.

National Asthma Council Australia chief Siobhan Brophy said the drop in female fatalities could be due to a combination of factors.

"We believe that increased awareness around asthma risks following the epidemic thunderstorm asthma event in Melbourne in 2016 have played a huge part in this reduction, as have innovations in severe asthma treatments," she said.

State by state, New South Wales had the highest number of asthma-related deaths in 2018 with 152, followed by Victoria with 89.

Severe asthma affects between three and 10 per cent of the 2.5 million Australians with asthma and requires regular treatment.

General practitioner Ian Almond said the condition can be deeply distressing for patients and their families.

"While it's important that people who can benefit from new treatments are identified correctly, it's just as important to ensure people understand what type of asthma they might have and how to properly manage their condition," Dr Almond said.

Ms Brophy urged asthma sufferers to take a proactive approach to their own treatment.

"If your asthma treatment isn't working for you, it may be because your asthma or allergies aren't well controlled," she said.

"Simply speaking to your doctor or pharmacist could give you the chance to get your life back on track and breathe better."

Australian Associated Press