Asthma appeal focuses on men

Asthma Foundation Queensland this month launched a $50,000 appeal for “Men managing asthma”, a new community training program.

The 2013 program will be in memory of Grant Fair, a 43-year-old Robina man who died from an asthma attack last year.

His wife Mary Fair told Asthma Foundation Queensland (AFQ) that her husband was a “bloke” who did not take asthma seriously.

“He missed doctor’s appointments, skipped taking his preventer medication, and believed the condition he grew up with all of his life was ‘just asthma’,” she said.

Ipswich Hospital’s Asthma Clinic director Dr Adele de Klerk said the successful after-hours clinic conducted regular client checks on compliance, medication, and inhaler technique.

“The clinic’s main aim is to educate,” Dr de Klerk said.

West Moreton Hospital and Health Service executive director Medical Services and Ipswich Hospital, Dr Yogesh Mistry, said hospital admissions due to asthma had increased at Ipswich and Gatton Hospitals over the last two years.

Ipswich Hospital admissions had risen from 304 in 2010-11 to 322 in 2011-12, and had almost doubled from 17 to 31 at Gatton Hospital in the same period.

Asthma clients presenting to Ipswich Hospital’s emergency department rose from 561 to 586.

“Many patients who present to the emergency department suffering asthma symptoms may have existing chronic conditions which can cause complications,” Dr Mistry said.

Asthma Foundation Queensland Program and Policy manager Peter Anderson said one in 10 Queenslanders have asthma, which is 20 per cent higher than the national average.

Reasons could be environmental, such as the weather, pollens and moulds, Mr Anderson said.

One woman who has had asthma for 30 years urges regular check-ups.

Miss Elizabeth Aylott, 47, who has had asthma since she was 16, has monthly check-ups at Ipswich Hospital’s Asthma Clinic.

She said a few years ago she had been admitted to hospital seven times in six months with chronic asthma.

Her message to asthma sufferers is: “Get involved. Let people know.”

She said people were surprised that 416 Australians had died from asthma last year and that there were different classes of asthma.

“It’s not ‘just asthma’. You need to be on top of it and aware of it. It’s a condition that can actually kill.”

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