National Asthma Awareness Week

National Asthma Awareness Week - ConnectAbility Australia

The simple act of breathing in and breathing out is something that most of us take for granted. For those who have asthma, this can be very challenging indeed, and can severely limit their everyday activities.

National Asthma Awareness week is from the 1st to the 7th of September and during this time we can take a closer look at how this condition affects many Australians. Did you know that, according to Asthma Australia up to 11% of the population have asthma to some degree. That means that there are 2.7 million  Australians suffering silently that we really need to support. This rate almost doubles when we look at the instances of asthma among our indigenous Australian population.

National Asthma Awareness Week | National Asthma Awareness Week

What is Asthma?

Asthma is a chronic disease which has a direct impact on the lungs. When a sufferer encounters those triggers which begin an attack, the airways become inflamed and swollen. As a result of this, a narrowing of the passage occurs. With the constriction of the airway and the mucus that is produced, the sufferer experiences difficulty breathing. Each episode of asthma is different. The duration of an attack can vary, depending on the trigger and how long the airways have been inflamed. Mild attacks can be over in minutes but severe attacks can range from hours to many days in duration.

National Asthma Awareness Week | National Asthma Awareness Week

What are the symptoms of Asthma?

  • Tightness in the chest
  • Frequent respiratory infections
  • Wheezing
  • Continuous coughing
  • Shortness of breath
National Asthma Awareness Week | National Asthma Awareness Week

What are the causes of Asthma?

The direct cause of asthma is still under investigation & is proving to be quite elusive. It is thought that it may even be hereditary. More is known about the triggers of asthma than the causes at this point in time. According to the Mayo Clinic, some of the more common triggers for asthma attacks are:

  • Pollen
  • Dust mites
  • Mould spores
  • Cold air
  • Physical activity
  • Air pollutants

The impact of asthma can be felt in many ways. There is the financial cost of asthma, which Asthma Australia calculated at $11,700 per person in 2015. There is the impact of healthcare costs for medications and hospitalisations which was estimated at $1.2 Billion in 2015 & the loss of productivity including loss of wages for sufferers and their carers. We have to take into consideration that asthma sufferers will experience a poorer quality of life while dealing with interruptions to their daily life through time off work, school and study due to their illness. There is also the somewhat alarming statistic that in 2017, according to Asthma Australia, there were 441 deaths directly attributable to this disease.

National Asthma Awareness Week | National Asthma Awareness Week

When do I need to seek medical attention?

As we have just learnt, severe asthma attacks can be life-threatening. Signs of an asthma emergency are:

  • No improvement in symptoms after using an inhaler
  • Shortness of breath when resting
  • Rapid worsening of wheezing or shortness of breath
  • Inability to speak due to shortness of breath
  • Acute shortness of breath at night
National Asthma Awareness Week | National Asthma Awareness Week

How do I control Asthma?

If you think you have asthma, you need to make an appointment with your doctor for assessment of your symptoms. Treating asthma early can help to keep the condition from becoming worse over time & may prevent long term damage to the lungs.

Your doctor will help you take a proactive approach to your asthma, to ensure you are on the correct medication and will make sure you are aware of how to use your inhaler correctly. In short, your doctor will seek to control your symptoms with an asthma management plan. This plan will be open to review as asthma can change over time and there are also new medications which may need to be considered.

Asthma UK indicate that there are several medical conditions which regularly accompany a diagnosis of asthma. These conditions can include:

  • Allergies
  • Nasal Polyps
  • Acid Reflux
  • Vocal Cord Dysfunction
  • Obstructive Sleep Apnoea
  • Bronchiectasis
  • Mental Health Disorders including Depression and Anxiety

Many of these conditions are covered for funding & support under the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS). ConnectAbility Australia  is a Newcastle based provider registered with the NDIS who can assist participants in finding the disability support and services they need. ConnectAbility improves the quality of life for participants in the scheme by helping them to reach their goals & realise their true potential.

If you have qualified for funding under the NDIS and would like assistance, please contact Connectability Australia on 02 4962 1000 or visit their website at

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