Jump in local asthma rates

Press/Media: Press / Media

Description

SIGNIFICANT increase in asthma
and allergies in Busselton has
been discovered through the world
renowned Busselton Health Study.
The latest Busselton Health survey
between 2005 and 2007 has
found there has been a steady increase
in asthma in adults since
1975. The results are to be published
in the European Respiratory
Journal this month and shows that
19 per cent of the 2,722 adults in the
study had been told by a doctor that
they had asthma, compared to six
per cent in 1966.
Post doctoral research scientist
Michael Hunter, who coordinated
the study, said the increase was significant
and associated with
changes in some symptoms but not
in lung function.
‘‘Wheeze and cough with phlegm
have increased over that time, but
diagnosed bronchitis and shortness
of breath have remained stable,’’ he
said.
‘‘At the same time lung function,
particularly a measurement of the
sensitivity of people’s airways (a
hallmark of asthma) has not
changed. This suggests that doctors
may be diagnosing asthma rather
than bronchitis more often.’’
Changes in the frequency of allergy
may also be involved in the increase
in asthma. Clinical associate
professor and study investigator
Alan James said more Busselton
adults were allergic in the latest
survey.
He said there was a significant
increase in the percentage of people
who had positive skin responses
with skin reactions to common
allergens such as house dust mite
and grasses.
‘‘Our aim now is to continue to
examine the information that we
collected in the 2007 survey so that
we can find out more about airway
diseases in Australian communities
and to throw some light on how
general practitioners may be labelling
respiratory symptoms,’’ he
said.
Busselton Population Medical
Research Foundation chair and
clinical professor Bill Musk said the
findings would be useful for planning
future health care for the community
and identifying trends in
health care practice.

Period11 Sept 2009

Media contributions

1

Media contributions

  • TitleJump in local asthma rates
    Degree of recognitionLocal
    Media name/outletBusselton Dunsborough Times
    Media typePrint
    Country/TerritoryAustralia
    Date11/09/09
    DescriptionSIGNIFICANT increase in asthma
    and allergies in Busselton has
    been discovered through the world
    renowned Busselton Health Study.
    The latest Busselton Health survey
    between 2005 and 2007 has
    found there has been a steady increase
    in asthma in adults since
    1975. The results are to be published
    in the European Respiratory
    Journal this month and shows that
    19 per cent of the 2,722 adults in the
    study had been told by a doctor that
    they had asthma, compared to six
    per cent in 1966.
    Post doctoral research scientist
    Michael Hunter, who coordinated
    the study, said the increase was significant
    and associated with
    changes in some symptoms but not
    in lung function.
    ‘‘Wheeze and cough with phlegm
    have increased over that time, but
    diagnosed bronchitis and shortness
    of breath have remained stable,’’ he
    said.
    ‘‘At the same time lung function,
    particularly a measurement of the
    sensitivity of people’s airways (a
    hallmark of asthma) has not
    changed. This suggests that doctors
    may be diagnosing asthma rather
    than bronchitis more often.’’
    Changes in the frequency of allergy
    may also be involved in the increase
    in asthma. Clinical associate
    professor and study investigator
    Alan James said more Busselton
    adults were allergic in the latest
    survey.
    He said there was a significant
    increase in the percentage of people
    who had positive skin responses
    with skin reactions to common
    allergens such as house dust mite
    and grasses.
    ‘‘Our aim now is to continue to
    examine the information that we
    collected in the 2007 survey so that
    we can find out more about airway
    diseases in Australian communities
    and to throw some light on how
    general practitioners may be labelling
    respiratory symptoms,’’ he
    said.
    Busselton Population Medical
    Research Foundation chair and
    clinical professor Bill Musk said the
    findings would be useful for planning
    future health care for the community
    and identifying trends in
    health care practice.
    PersonsMichael Hunter