Nationwide monitoring and surveillance question development: Asthma

Working Paper No. 2

Published: 2003

Asthma is a chronic inflammatory disorder of the airways that results in variable airflow obstruction in response to certain triggers. Depending on severity, the airflow limitation is accompanied by symptoms of breathlessness, wheezing, chest tightness, and cough. According to the 1995 ABS National Health Survey, it was estimated that approximately 11 per cent of Australians reported asthma as a recent or long-term condition. Asthma is a major cause of disability rather than premature mortality, costing the health system an estimated $478 million in 1993-94 (40 per cent of the total expenditure on chronic respiratory diseases). On the 4th of August 1999 the Australian Health Ministers announced asthma as the sixth National Health Priority Area, in response to the significant burden that asthma places on the Australian community.

This discussion paper examines a number of issues related to asthma and the instruments that have been used to measure asthma in the population. In particular, the paper looks at health surveillance data collection.

Authored by PHIDU

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