TORONTO, May 6, 2014 /CNW/ - On the occasion of World Asthma Day, the
Asthma Society of Canada released the first-ever patient study of
Severe Asthma in Canada. The study, Severe Asthma: The Canadian Patient Journey, takes an in-depth look at the personal, social, medical and economic
burden of Severe Asthma in Canada. Severe Asthma (SA), a more severe
form of asthma and a greater threat to life, impacts the health and
economic well-being of between 150,000 and 250,000 Canadians. Between
250 and 300 Canadians will die this year of asthma. Beyond personal
costs, asthma is the leading cause of hospital admission in Canada.
Between 2010 and 2011, direct and indirect costs associated with
treating asthma topped more than $1-billion.
"The good news in this report is that SA is a disease Canadians have the
possibility to control. We need more research into SA, more attention
to the issue by physicians and government, and more resources to
educate patients about how to manage their disease," said Robert
Oliphant, President and CEO of the Asthma Society of Canada. "If we can
rally against SA, we will save lives and improve the quality of life
for hundreds of thousands of patients and their families. All we need
to do is act," he added.
Severe Asthma: The Canadian Patient Journey, included extensive interviews with SA patients in Alberta, Ontario and
Quebec, as well as responses from every province through an on-line
survey. It highlights the patient experience of SA, in their daily
lives, in the healthcare system, with respect to treatment options and
with family, friends and in the work place. The study defined important
discoveries about SA's impact on Canadians.
Key Findings Include:
SA is generally poorly understood and diagnosed, and inconsistently
managed by healthcare providers. Its severity is discounted by patients
themselves, sometimes as a result of the stigma associated with the
SA significantly reduces the personal, social, financial and health
outcomes for many Canadians. SA has a noticeable impact on the Canadian
Treatment of SA is hindered by availability of specialists, misdiagnoses
and lack of patient understanding.
New treatment options are not well-known by patients or physicians.
The Asthma Society of Canada has issued a Call to Action, calling upon:
Professional medical associations to establish a clear definition of SA based on new international
guidelines that patients can understand and physicians will use to make
Physicians to make full use of objective lung function testing before diagnosing
Severe Asthma instead of simply relying on symptoms as reported by
Patients to learn to manage their asthma and to recognize when their asthma is
not under control before ending up in a hospital;
Governments to recognize the financial burden of SA on the patient and to increase
funding for research into SA, its causes, types, treatments and cure;
Employers to accommodate employees with SA regarding workplace environment,
flexible working hours and medical leave when required, without adding
to the stigma often faced by people with Severe Asthma.
During an interview one patient explained the difficulty she had
experienced in getting treatment for her SA. She said, "The worst part
of living with asthma used to be that nobody believed me. It's kind of
an invisible illness. You don't always want to say 'I am not feeling
well, I have asthma' because there is still a stigma. Even when you go
to the hospital they ask, 'Well, how bad is your asthma attack?' What
difference does it make? An asthma attack is an asthma attack and I
need help, otherwise I wouldn't be here."
Electronic copies of Severe Asthma: The Canadian Patient Journey can be found at www.asthma.ca in English and French.
About the Asthma Society of Canada
The Asthma Society of Canada (ASC) is a national charitable
volunteer-supported organization devoted to enhancing the quality of
life and health for people living with asthma and associated allergies
through education, research and advocacy. The ASC has a 40-year
reputation of providing health education services to patients and
healthcare professionals. This study was made possible in part by
Novartis Pharmaceuticals Canada Inc., Roche Canada and Boston
Scientific Ltd. who provided educational grants to the Asthma Society
SOURCE: Asthma Society of Canada
For further information:
Asthma Society of Canada