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Moving the Dial Asthma

Moving the Dial on Diagnosis and Treatment of Asthma

Asthma is life long, but it doesn’t have to be life limiting. Unfortunately too many Canadians are falling through gaps in the healthcare system. We’re facing obstacles from the moment we’re diagnosed – and these gaps can continue to swallow us as we navigate treatment. The bottom line is that too many of us are living with asthma that’s poorly managed.

We are ready to start moving the dial on the diagnosis and treatment of asthma. Are you in?

The Data

We conducted an online survey of 1,510 Canadians with asthma. Here are the top five obstacles that the Lung Health Foundation is confronting through our work to make Canada a safer place to breathe:

36% of people with asthma still regularly experience symptoms like difficulty breathing.

Shortness of breath, chest tightness, coughing and wheezing. Sound familiar? It’s something that more than a third of asthma patients are confronting every day. And 56% of us are reaching for our reliever inhalers 3+ times per week. Why aren’t we demanding more out of life?

…and yet 20% of us are still fuming.

Smoking cigarettes, that is. And 25% of us are living in a home with someone who lights up.

Our survey found that the combination of asthma + smoking contributes to far worse outcomes and a higher chance of having or developing an another lung disease in addition to asthma. People who smoke are twice as likely to indicate that they’re missing school, work, or other activities due to their symptoms. It’s affecting our day-to-day lives, and it’s even affecting the treatments we qualify for: Smokers are also less likely to be considered candidates for treatment using cutting-edge biologics.

Almost 30% of us are missing out on life experiences.

Uncontrolled asthma is very likely to interfere with exercising. Our bodies crave movement, but can our lungs deliver if they’re held back by asthma symptoms?

Only 22% of us have a plan in place.

The Asthma Action Plan, that is. Just 44% even know what an AAP is. Even more alarming is the fact that 47% of asthma patients are not taking their medications as prescribed. The most popular reason why we’re slacking on meds? We simply forget.

And yet 92% think we’ve got things under control.

Perhaps the biggest gap we’re trying to overcome is a knowledge gap that extends beyond the health care system. Do we even remember what it feels like to have our asthma under control? Do we recall what it’s like to move freely without being wary of wheezing and at high alert for shortness of breath? With properly controlled asthma, a near-symptomless life is within reach for the majority of us (60%) who list our asthma as mild.

The Lung Health Foundation’s Recommendations

Our research uncovered four key steps that will improve asthma management in Canada and reduce its physical, social and financial impact. So here’s what we’ve set our sights on:

  • A nationwide strategy to increase access to accredited, high-quality spirometry
  • A nationwide strategy to improve asthma control
  • A nationwide strategy on the use of asthma action plans
  • Individualized treatment plans—right medication for the right patient at the right time

Breathe deeper

Ready to learn more? Read our whitepaper Moving the Dial on Diagnosis and Treatment of Asthma, funded in partnership with AstraZeneca Canada, for our stance on these and other obstacles standing in the way of good asthma control.

If you’re a patient who’s ready to speak out, consider sharing your experience through a confidential patient submission.


Asthma Survey Results, Leger, 2018.