In the early 1960’s, a struggle to breathe meant adrenalin shots, oxygen tents and lengthy hospital stays. The respiratory condition we now know as asthma, was not recognised by the medical profession and was attributed to ‘overly anxious’ parenting.
Fast forward 50 years. Asthma is a prevalent chronic condition with a plethora of treatment options. The launch of daily preventer treatments has meant people with asthma, for the most part, can get on with living a full and active life.
However, despite the availability of treatments, asthma is still a leading burden of disease in Australia. Around half or one million of the 2.7 million Australians living with asthma are vulnerable to frequent symptoms, lowering their quality of life.
At best this can be a real nuisance, interfering with daily activities such as work, school, exercise and even socialising.
At worst, it can lead to a terrifying and life-threatening asthma attack. Sadly, there are still too many avoidable deaths and hospitalisations due to asthma. People still die each week.
As the national peak body here for people with asthma, we sought to understand the experience of those living with this chronic disease. People related to living with asthma as unfair, debilitating, and often embarrassing. That it’s like having an invisible disability. That it’s exhausting having to worry about it all the time, it’s like a ticking time bomb and it’s a scary way to live.
During the past year we explored what a life without asthma could mean for them. The insights were powerful. They made us stop and refocus. This is what people with asthma said their life would be like without asthma symptoms;
Australians have urged us to be a champion for them.
To lead new approaches and solutions which puts the needs of people with asthma first.
To push harder for positive changes in health policy and practice so they can access the right treatments, in the right place, at the right time – whenever and wherever they most need it.
To be a catalyst for change.
We at Asthma Australia are not prepared to put up with status quo any longer.
Asthma places too large a burden on Australians. It doesn’t have to be this way – things can be better. We can and need to do better.
At Asthma Australia, we have set ourselves a bold goal to halve avoidable hospital presentations by 2030.
We can’t achieve this alone.
We need to work together. Health professionals across general practice, pharmacy, community and hospital; state and federal governments, researchers, industry, schools, workplaces– we all need to work towards this goal.
With the person with asthma at the centre, guiding us and shaping all we do.
It’s time to speak up for asthma…
We are relaunching our brand, marking our promise to be the bold champion that people with asthma need. So, they don’t have to put up with symptoms that get in the way of daily life, and can get on with the business of living freely... uninhibited by their asthma.