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SASKATOON, May 4, 2004--With the rates of asthma continuing to soar worldwide, The Lung Association is drawing attention to the high human and economic costs of asthma in Canada. 

World Asthma Day puts the focus on this lung disease that leaves 12 % of Canadian children and 8 % of Canadian adults struggling to breathe, says Dr. Brian Graham, President and CEO of The Lung Association of Saskatchewan.

There are 300 million people of all ages and all ethnic backgrounds suffering from asthma worldwide.  The global burden of asthma to governments, health care systems, families and patients is increasing.  According to the Global Burden of Asthma, released by the World Health Organization and the Global Initiative for Asthma, the prevalence of asthma symptoms and diagnosed asthma in Canada and the United States is one of the highest in the world.

A recent study funded by The Lung Association indicated that 16 “ 21% of Saskatchewan children have asthma.

There is no cure for asthma.  With proper management, asthma can be controlled so that its impact on quality of life is minimized. Unfortunately, many Canadians have asthma under poor control. Consequently, asthma continues to be a major cause of hospitalization for children.  The Lung Association stresses that good asthma control will help reduce the increasing costs to Canada's health care system. 57% of Canadians with asthma have poor asthma control and suffer from any combination of symptoms.

Every year, approximately 20 children and 450 adults die in Canada as a result of their asthma. It is estimated that more than 80% of these deaths may have been prevented with proper asthma education and appropriate treatment.

Control of asthma can only be achieved when asthma education and appropriate therapy is provided by a team of skilled health care professionals, states Jan Haffner, Vice-President of Health Initiatives for The Lung Association. As such, The Lung Association of Saskatchewan has developed a program to teach health care professionals how to better educate patients about managing their asthma. AsthmaTrecã (Asthma Training and Educator Course) has had over 100 health care professionals in Saskatchewan successfully complete the program.  These educators now provide current information about the management of asthma to patients in various communities throughout the province.

In addition, The Lung Association has many resources available for patients with asthma and their families. One such activity that The Lung Association administers is the Discovery Asthma Camp which is held every year at Hitchcock's Hideaway on Lake Diefenbaker. Around-the-clock medical supervision is provided to 55 children between the ages of 7 and 13 years who have asthma. This camp is offered so that children with asthma can enjoy the unique experience of summer camp, something they may not otherwise be able to enjoy because of their asthma. This year camp will be held from July 6-10 and still has room available for eligible children. More information about the programs and resources are available from The Lung Association.

Further research is needed to identify the factors responsible for increased prevalence rates, as well as to study the primary prevention of asthma. For children and adults living with asthma, The Lung Association recommends good asthma education and working closely with health care professionals to help establish and maintain good asthma control.

For more information on asthma, call The Lung Association at 1-888-566-5864 or visit us at


Stella Spanos
306-343-9511 (Saskatoon)


When you can't breathe, nothing else matters!


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Page Last Updated: 04/05/2004