Australia has one of the highest asthma rates in the world. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, approximately 2.7 million individuals had asthma in 2020-21. Females were also more likely than males to have asthma even though the rate of asthma was comparable in boys and girls aged 0-14 years.
Why is asthma so common in Australia?
Increasing evidence shows that people who move to Australia from Asia and other non-western countries are coming down with allergies they previously didn’t have. People of Asian background are more likely to get hayfever and then develop wheezing and asthma after coming to Australia between five and 10 years.
A research study revealed that Asian migrants were nearly twice as likely to develop hayfever as those born in Australia. Approximately six in 10 would also contract spring hayfever within three years.
A hypothesis is that migrants don’t chance upon the same allergens, particularly, ryegrass pollen, in their home countries. Their allergies are only triggered when they come in contact with such pollens in Australia.
What are the main causes of Asthma?
Asthma can be triggered by several factors such as pollen, house dust mites, cigarette smoke, exercise or associated with a cold.
How is Asthma diagnosed?
Asthma is a long-term lung condition that impacts the airways when they become inflamed. It can be diagnosed by initially reviewing your medical history, performing a physical exam, and conducting lung function tests which measures how sensitive your airways are to an inhaled substance.
What are some symptoms of Asthma?
The symptoms of asthma can vary for individuals and can range from mild to severe. Some of the most common symptoms include:
- Wheezing: A high-pitched whistling sound when breathing.
- Shortness of breath: Difficulty breathing, especially during physical activity.
- Chest tightness: A feeling of tightness or pressure in the chest.
- Coughing: A persistent cough, especially at night or early in the morning.
Asthma cannot be cured but it can be effectively managed with the right treatment and daily management plan. It can be well controlled with appropriate medication. The common types of asthma medications are:
- Relievers that act quickly to relax the muscles around the airways – this is the medications used during an asthma attack.
- Preventers that slowly make the airways less sensitive to triggers and reduce inflammation inside the airways – they are taken daily to help keep you well.
- Combination therapies that are preventers containing two different medicines.
Here are some tips for managing your asthma:
- Identify and avoid triggers: Identify the signs and symptoms of asthma and avoid them as much as possible
- Create an asthma action plan with your doctor: This should include a discussion about your unique situation including asthma patterns and triggers, and current management.
- Stay active: Regular exercise can help improve lung function and reduce asthma symptoms. Speak to your doctor about the types of exercises that are safe for you
- Monitor your symptoms: Keep track of your symptoms and how often you need to use your rescue inhaler.
In conclusion, taking an active role in managing your asthma treatment will help you maintain better long-term asthma control, prevent asthma attacks and avoid long-term issue.
Speak to your GP today if you have any symptoms or concerns. You may also be eligible for a team care arrangement to see a physiotherapist skilled in airway clearance techniques.
For more info, visit https://asthma.org.au/