MAY 2015

Older women most at risk of dying from asthma

To help us understand who is most at risk of dying from asthma, each year we ask the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) to provide us with detailed statistics about asthma-related deaths. While there was plenty of of positive signs in this year's report– including a continuing downward trend in overall asthma deaths – the demonstrated risk to older women is instructive to Australia's asthma community.

Dr Jonathan Burdon AM, Chair of the National Asthma Council Australia and respiratory physician, said that although up to one in seven older Australians have asthma, about half of all people with asthma aged 75 years and over have not been diagnosed by a doctor. 

“Contrary to popular belief, people can get asthma for the first time later in their lives. Without proper attention and management, new-onset asthma can be as deadly as long-standing asthma in adults if ignored. It is essential that those who experience asthma signs and symptoms take action, and not dismiss or confuse them as simply due to ‘old age’.”
Infographic: Deaths due to asthma

Severe asthma learning module to be launched at GPCE Sydney

We're excited to be launching our new online learning module Troubleshooting difficult asthma in adults with a series of seminars at GPCE Sydney this weekend. 

Hosted by ThinkGP, the new module
has a particular focus on patients with difficult-to-control symptoms; due to the nature of the asthma itself, co-morbidities, the choice of medication and delivery, or difficulties with adherence. It was primarily created for GPs and practice nurses, but all clinicians who see patients with asthma will find it useful. There is no cost to completing the module and both GPs and practice nurses can earn CPD points for completion.

If you're attending GPCE Sydney this weekend, please come and see us at one of our seminars to find out more. We are also hosting a workshop on the importance of inhaler device technique on each of the three days at GPCE Sydney. See the conference program for more details.

Your asthma patients may be eligible for free shots this winter

At this time of year, both influenza and pneumonia are a particular risk to people with asthma but thankfully, Australia has an immunisation program that covers those significantly at risk.

This week is also Pneumonia Awareness Week, with organisations such as the Lung Foundation emphasising the need for at-risk patents to take advantage of free pneumococcal immunisations available through the Immunise Australia Program.

We recommend all health professionals familiarise themselves with the program so they can keep their at-risk asthma patients safe this winter.

AirSupply asthma control study findings – we have the tools to help

The groundbreaking AirSupply study, the first nationally representative study on asthma control in Australia, has gained some well-deserved media attention during May, but revealed Australia's asthma community has work to do to improve asthma control and adherence across the country.

As the author of the Australian Asthma Handbook, the national guidelines for the treatment of asthma, the National Asthma Council plays a central role in addressing concerns raised by the study. Since the survey in 2012, we have seen one full and one minor update to the guidelines as well as the launch of My Asthma Guide, the guidelines interpreted for asthma patients and their families.
My Asthma Guide cover

National Asthma Strategy update

Following the National Asthma Strategy Advisory Group's development of the draft outline during March and April, the Connecting Asthma Care conference in Brisbane allowed us to convene a Stakeholder Roundtable involving more than 40 people representing a range of organisations from across the health and respiratory spheres.

It was a very positive day, and we are grateful to all those who participated so openly and constructively in the discussions.



GPCE Sydney
Reed Education
22-24 May, 2015
Sydney Showground, Sydney Olympic Park, NSW
More information

Nursing in General Practice Workshop
Australian Primary Health Care Nurses Association (APNA)
29-30 May 2015
Grand Chancellor on Hindley, Adelaide, South Australia
More information and registration

4th IPCRG Scientific Meeting
International Primary Care Respiratory Group
29–30 May, 2015
More information


2nd Asia-Pacific Influenza Summit
Asia-Pacific Alliance for the Control of Influenza (APACI)
10–11 June 2015
Hanoi, Vietnam
More information


The ResHealth 2015 International Respiratory and Sleep Medicine Conference
Australian Respiratory and Sleep Medicine Institute
31 July – 2 August 2015
Adelaide, South Australia
More information

PSA15 – Leading pharmacy innovation
Pharmaceutical Society of Australia
31 July – 3 August 2015
Sydney, Australia
More information
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