Asthma 2008

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Asthma is a chronic inflammatory disorder of the airways that causes coughing, shortness of breath, chest tightness and wheezing. Quality of life can be affected not only by disturbing asthma attacks, but also by absences from work and limitations in other activities.

In 2008, 8.4% of Canadians aged 12 or older reported that they had asthma. There has been no significant change in this percentage since 2001.

Throughout the period from 2001 to 2008, women were more likely than men to report that they had asthma.

Chart 1


Chart 1: Percentage reporting asthma, by sex, household population aged 12 or older, Canada, 2001 to 2008

Females were more likely than males to have asthma, with the exception of the 12-to-19 and the 65 or older age groups where there was no significant difference between the sexes.

Among males, the youngest age group had the highest rate of asthma. Women's rates did not drop off at age 20 as men's did, though the rates for ages 12 to 19 and 20 to 34 were higher than the rates for female seniors.

Chart 2


Chart 2: Percentage reporting asthma, by age group and sex, household population aged 12 or older, Canada, 2008

In 2008 there was no significant difference between the asthma rates in rural and urban areas.

Only Manitoba (10.4%) reported asthma rates higher than the national average in 2008, while British Columbia (7.4%) and Nunavut (4.0%) were lower. Residents of the other provinces and territories reported asthma rates that were about the same as the rate for Canada as a whole.


Additional information from the Canadian Community Health Survey is available from CANSIM table 105-0501.


Asthma. Chen Y, Johansen H, Thillaiampalam S, et al. 2005; 16(2): 43-6.

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