Indigenous Australians die of asthma at more than three times the rate of the rest of the nation
The recently released Australian Centre for Asthma Monitoring (ACAM) report Asthma in Australia 2008 focuses attention on several important and novel findings about asthma among Indigenous Australians (see Box).1 This is the third report in the 2-yearly series from ACAM, and brings together analyses of routinely collected national data, including data from Australian Bureau of Statistics national health surveys, and current information from published articles. Asthma is clearly identified in the report as a prevalent health problem in the Indigenous population. It is one of the two most common causes of hospitalisation of Indigenous Australians, second only to renal dialysis.2 It is also the second most common self-reported long-term illness among Indigenous Australians, and the mortality rate due to asthma among Indigenous Australians is 3.2 times that of other Australians.1 However, in contrast to the attention given to other medical conditions over-represented among Indigenous Australians, such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes mellitus, disproportionately little attention is given to respiratory disease, including asthma.
- 1. Australian Centre for Asthma Monitoring. Asthma in Australia 2008. Canberra: Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 2008. (AIHW Asthma Series No. 3. AIHW Cat. No. ACM 14.) http://www.aihw.gov.au/publications/index.cfm/title/10584 (accessed Mar 2009).
- 2. Australian Health Ministers’ Advisory Council. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health performance framework report 2008 — summary. Canberra: AHMAC, 2008.
- 3. Veale AJ, Peat JK, Tovey ER, et al. Asthma and atopy in four rural Australian Aboriginal communities. Med J Aust 1996; 165: 192-196.
- 4. Kamien M. The physical health of Aboriginal adults in Bourke, New South Wales. Med J Aust 1976; 1: 38-44.
- 5. Australian Bureau of Statistics. National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Survey 2004–05. Canberra: ABS, 2006. (ABS Cat. No. 4715.0.) http://www.abs.gov.au/AUSSTATS/abs@.nsf/Lookup/4715.0Main+Features12004-05?OpenDocument (accessed Apr 2009).
- 6. Sin DD, Wells H, Svenson LW, et al. Asthma and COPD among aboriginals in Alberta, Canada. Chest 2002; 121: 1841-1846.
- 7. Glasgow NJ, Goodchild EA, Yates R, et al. Respiratory health in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in the Australian Capital Territory. J Paediatr Child Health 2003; 39: 534-539.
- 8. Chang AB, Shannon C, O’Neil MC, et al. Asthma management in Indigenous children of a remote community using an Indigenous health model. J Paediatr Child Health 2000; 36: 249-251.
- 9. Chang AB, Grimwood K, Maguire G, et al. Management of bronchiectasis and chronic suppurative lung disease in Indigenous children and adults from rural and remote Australian communities [position statement]. Med J Aust 2008; 189: 386-393. <MJA full text>
- 10. Wright RJ, Subramanian SV. Advancing a multilevel framework for epidemiological research on asthma disparities. Chest 2007; 132 (5 Suppl): 757S-769S.
- 11. Bailey EJ, Kruske SG, Morris PS, et al. Culture-specific programs for children and adults from minority groups who have asthma. Cochrane Database Syst Rev 2008; (2): CD006580.
- 12. Respiratory and sleep health in Indigenous Australians. A position statement commissioned by the Thoracic Society of Australia and New Zealand and the Australasian Sleep Association. http://www.thoracic.org.au (accessed Mar 2009).
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