Helping Canadians Living with Allergic Asthma Breathe Easier by Taking Control of their Chronic Condition

  • Asthma is a chronic, inflammatory lung disease that is often triggered by allergies1
  • Allergens – such as mould, animal dander and pollen – are significant asthma risk factors2
  • The Asthma Society of Canada conducts first ever patient study evaluating everyday impact of severe asthma on Canadians

DORVAL, QC, May 6, 2014 /CNW/ - Today is World Asthma Day, an annual international event to increase asthma awareness and improve care around the globe.  This year, the Global Initiative for Asthma (GINA) theme is "You Can Control Your Asthma3." The World Health Organization (WHO) believes asthma is under-treated and under-diagnosed4. The Asthma Society of Canada estimates three million Canadians live with asthma5. Asthma is the leading chronic condition for children in Canada6. Six out of ten Canadians living with asthma do not have control of their disease and it's estimated 250 Canadians die each year from asthma7.

"Asthma has been defined as an invisible illness that creates social barriers and misunderstood stigmas for many Canadians. Severe Asthma is a grave condition for many that includes lengthy and costly attacks. The Asthma Society of Canada has concluded the first ever patient study to evaluate the everyday impact of Severe Asthma on the lives of Canadians," says Rob Oliphant, president and chief executive officer, Asthma Society of Canada.  "Severe Asthma: The Canadian Patient Journey, confirms asthma is a leading cause of hospital admission in Canada and the direct and indirect costs associated with treating the disease topped more than $1-billion between 2010 and 2011 alone. The Asthma Society of Canada patient research reveals Severe Asthma is a regular – often sudden – health crisis that has serious consequences for a patient's long-term health and well-being, and economic standing."

About Asthma and Allergic Triggers

Mild to moderate asthma is a disease that makes it hard to breathe and might appear as a dry, wheezing cough. Asthma symptoms can be caused by allergens that can trigger asthma attacks and symptoms, such as coughing, wheezing, and shortness of breath8. Cat or dog dander, dust mites, and cockroaches are common examples of year-round allergens9. In more severe events, asthma can obstruct an individual's airways making it impossible to breathe. According to the Asthma Society of Canada, severe asthma (SA) is an increased threat to the health and well-being of approximately 150,000 to 250,000 Canadians. Many Canadians with asthma require help in keeping their disease under control according to data on activity restriction, emergency room visits and hospitalization10.

Controlling Asthma

Asthma should not control one's life. Although asthma cannot be cured, it can be effectively treated. With proper treatment, research shows nearly all asthma patients can achieve and maintain good asthma control, enabling them to participate in normal daily activities and prevent visits to the hospital11. Patients should avoid triggers, develop personalized action plans and take their medication as directed. Healthcare professionals should encourage dialogue with patients surrounding optional asthma symptom control and seek out expert asthma educators to discuss best treatment practices. 

"Asthma symptoms vary from person to person. In fact, even the same person's asthma condition can dramatically fluctuate throughout the year," says Dr. Jacques Hébert, director, Centre de Recherche Appliquée en Allergie de Québec (CRAAQ). "It is possible to obtain total asthma control and maintain symptom management over time. No Canadian should ever die from an asthma attack."

About Novartis Pharmaceuticals Canada Inc.

Novartis Pharmaceuticals Canada Inc., a leader in the healthcare field, is committed to the discovery, development and marketing of innovative products to improve the well-being of all Canadians. In 2012, the company invested close to $100 million in research and development in Canada. Novartis Pharmaceuticals Canada Inc. employs more than 600 people in Canada. For further information, please consult

About Novartis

Novartis Pharmaceuticals Canada Inc. is a subsidiary of Novartis AG which provides innovative healthcare solutions that address the evolving needs of patients and societies. Headquartered in Basel, Switzerland, Novartis Group of Companies offers a diversified portfolio to best meet these needs: innovative medicines, eye care, cost-saving generic pharmaceuticals, preventive vaccines, over-the-counter and animal health products. Novartis is the only global company with leading positions in these areas. In 2013, the Group achieved net sales of USD 57.9 billion, while R&D throughout the Group amounted to approximately USD 9.9 billion (USD 9.6 billion excluding impairment and amortization charges). Novartis Group companies employ approximately 135,000 full-time-equivalent associates and sell products in more than 150 countries around the world. For more information, please visit


  1. Asthma Society of Canada.  Asthma Facts and Statistics.  Accessed May 1, 2014
  2. Asthma Society of Canada.  Asthma Facts and Statistics.  Accessed May 1, 2014
  3. Asthma Society of Canada. Home Page - It's Time to Control Asthma.  Accessed April 25, 2014.
  4. Global Initiative for Asthma. World Asthma Day.  Accessed April 25, 2014.
  5. World Health Organizations. Facts About Asthma. Accessed April 25, 2014
  6. Asthma Society of Canada. Home Page - It's Time to Control Asthma.  Accessed April 25, 2014.
  7. Asthma Society of Canada. Home Page - It's Time to Control Asthma.  Accessed April 25, 2014.
  8. Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. (2005). Allergic Asthma FAQ. Retrieved from, Accessed April 25, 2014   
  9. Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. (2005). Allergic Asthma FAQ. Retrieved from, Accessed April 25, 2014   
  10. Public Health Agency of Canada. Life and Breath: Respiratory Disease in Canada (2007). Executive Summary. Key Point #8. Accessed April 25, 2014.
  11. Global Initiative for Asthma (GINA) 2014 World Asthma Day Media Backgrounder. Accessed April 25, 2014.

SOURCE: Novartis Pharmaceuticals Canada Inc.

For further information: Novartis Media Relations: Elizabeth Tanguay, Manager, External Communications, Novartis Pharmaceuticals Canada Inc., +1 514 633-7873,; Rob McEwan, Vice President, Argyle Communications, + 1 416 968-7311 ext. 242,

Custom Packages

Browse our custom packages or build your own to meet your unique communications needs.

Start today.

CNW Membership

Fill out a CNW membership form or contact us at 1 (877) 269-7890

Learn about CNW services

Request more information about CNW products and services or call us at 1 (877) 269-7890