Objectives: To assess the prevalence of asthma symptoms, their impact on daily activities, and perceptions of disease severity among people with asthma.
Methods: A telephone survey of 699 people with asthma was conducted in 1999 in metropolitan and nonmetropolitan New South Wales, Victoria, and Queensland, Australia.
Results: Forty-two percent of adults and 26% of children reported experiencing asthma symptoms at least every 2-3 days. Thirty-seven percent of adults and 26% of children reported using a reliever more than four times in the previous week. Of those for whom preventer therapy had been prescribed (61% of respondents), 30% of children and 45% of adults did not use their preventer as instructed. A high proportion of respondents reported avoiding physical and social activities because of their asthma, while 75% said asthma generally made them feel tired. Many respondents attributed frustration (61%), irritability (57%), fear (38%), and worry (43%) to their asthma. Only 50% of respondents had been reviewed by a general practitioner for asthma in the past year. Respondents generally underestimated the severity of their asthma, compared with symptom frequencies reported.
Conclusions: The Living with Asthma Survey suggests that national asthma management goals are not being achieved in a high proportion of patients, with evidence for both underprescribing and underusage of preventer medication. Achieving closer alignment between medical and patient perspectives is an important goal of asthma education and management in order to help bridge the gap between current concepts of best practice and the reality of persistently poor asthma outcomes.