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Clinical, Economic, and Humanistic Burden of Asthma in Canada

Clinical, Economic, and Humanistic Burden of Asthma in Canada


Asthma, an inflammatory disorder of the airways, accounts for roughly 80% of cases of chronic respiratory disease in Canada. It affects more than 3 million Canadians and roughly 235 million people worldwide. According to Statistics Canada, 8.5% of the population aged 12 and older has been diagnosed with asthma. Its prevalence in this country has been increasing over the last 20 years. Worldwide, asthma prevalence rates have been rising on average by 50% every decade. Notably, asthma is the leading cause of hospital admissions in the overall Canadian population, the leading cause of absenteeism from school, and the third leading cause of work loss. Each year, there are 146,000 emergency room visits due to asthma attacks in Canada. Asthma is also a major cause of hospitalization among the estimated 13% of Canadian children who suffer from the disease.

High prevalence in conjunction with significant asthma-related morbidity leads to a heavy clinico-economic and humanistic burden of asthma in Canada. Healthcare utilization and costs are even higher when management and control of the disease are suboptimal. The direct and indirect costs associated with asthma are expected to rank among the highest for chronic diseases due to the significant healthcare utilization associated with the disease and asthma's detrimental impact on physical, emotional, social, and professional lives of sufferers.

This systematic review is the first to consolidate and summarize the literature (from 2000–2011) encompassing not only the clinical and economic, but also the humanistic burden of asthma in Canada. It, thus, provides a holistic overview of the weight this disease poses to the healthcare system, patients and society. Specifically, this systematic literature review unveils the direct and indirect costs of asthma per patient, the key drivers of healthcare resource utilization, and the humanistic impact of asthma on patients' quality of life (QoL), which cannot be inferred from clinical measures. This information, consolidated in a single review, can be of value to payers, policy makers and healthcare providers in making decisions pertaining to the management and treatment of asthma.

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