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Asthma deaths higher in women

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Baby boomer women are at an increasing risk of dying from asthma, according to analysed new data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

Recently released figures show women with asthma aged between 55 and 64 are dying from the condition at a higher rate than the overall asthma-related death toll in Australia.

In 2017, a total of 441 deaths linked to asthma were recorded in Australia, comprising 300 females and 141 males.

The overall toll decreased by 14 from the previous year, but the deaths of women aged 55 to 64 doubled from 16 to 32.

According to the National Asthma Council Australia, the numbers suggest baby boomer women with asthma need to be extremely vigilant about managing their condition.

“Women in this age group are often juggling a host of responsibilities, from work to caring for children and ageing parents, and often put their own health last,” the Council’s chair Dr Jonathan Burdon AM said.

“It’s important that women prioritise time to effectively manage and actively monitor asthma symptoms, so their conditions do not get worse.

“Women have slightly higher prevalence rates for asthma, but we don’t have conclusive evidence as to why women are dying from asthma at more than twice the rate of men. This is happening globally, and studies suggest this is due to diagnostic, biological, lifestyle, societal or environmental circumstances.”

Dr Burdon said anyone living with asthma must never ignore or dismiss breathing problems and should have regular asthma check-ups with their GPs.

They should have an asthma action plan, follow proper instruction on how to use an inhaler, get a flu shot in winter, don’t smoke, avoid other people’s tobacco smoke, and make sure family and friends know what the asthma first aid steps are.

CHRIS JOHNSON

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