Current asthma deaths among adults in Japan


Tsugio Nakazawa, School of Health Sciences, Faculty of Medicine, Gunma University, 3-39-15 Showa-machi, Maebashi city, Gunma 371-8514, Japan. Email:


Recent asthma deaths were examined from yearly reports of the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare of Japan and from reports published by the Japan Asthma Death Investigation Committee on 811 deaths over the period 1992−2000. The rate and number of recent asthma deaths in Japan have been decreasing rapidly. Most asthma deaths were of patients aged 70−90 years and there has been a marked trend for increased asthma deaths in the elderly. As for the circumstances surrounding the deaths, sudden death, unstable sudden aggravation and intermittent aggravation were mainly noted. Respiratory infections, fatigue and stress were the major courses of fatal attacks contributing to deaths due to asthma. Many of the patients who died from asthma had been diagnosed as having as moderate to severe asthma and many had non-atopic asthma. There are some reports that suggest that the recent decrease in asthma deaths in Japan is correlated with the use of inhaled corticosteroids.