Lung disease remains sixth in burden of disease list


By Mardi Chapman

12 Jul 2017

The burden of chronic respiratory conditions such as COPD and asthma has declined slightly but still ranks sixth as a disease group in terms of its contribution to the total burden of disease in Australia.

The latest AIHW data from the Australian Burden of Disease Study found the impact of respiratory diseases decreased marginally from 17 disability-adjusted life years (DALY) per 1,000 people in 2003 to 16 DALY per 1,000 people in 2011.

Chronic respiratory conditions affect an estimated 7.1 million Australians, the report said.

It found COPD contributed most to the total burden of all respiratory conditions (43%), followed by asthma (29%) and upper respiratory conditions (20%). Sarcoidosis, pneumoconiosis, interstitial lung disease and other respiratory diseases accounted for the remaining 8% of the burden.


Source: AIHW 2016a

Source: AIHW 2016a

Overall, about 70% of the burden of respiratory conditions was due to its non-fatal burden although the proportion differed significantly between diseases – ILD (7.7%), pneumonconiosis (8.2%), sarcoidosis (16.1%), COPD (53.0%), asthma (93.2%) and upper respiratory conditions (99.3%)

Total burden of respiratory conditions was similar for males and females and was highest in older Australians aged 70–74 years. However males experienced more fatal burden from respiratory conditions than females in almost all age groups, especially in infants.

Indigenous Australians, people living in the most remote areas and people with the most socioeconomic disadvantage carried a higher burden of disease.

The report said 75% of the COPD burden, and 36% of the total burden for all respiratory conditions, was attributed to tobacco use.

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