4 December 2013 3:42 PM

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It takes a toll on dating, sexual pleasure and people's careers, according to an Asthma Australia report on the study of more than 1000 people with poor asthma control.

More than one in 10 mothers in the study avoid playtime with their children and 16 per cent of parents find it difficult to carry their child.

More than two million Australians have asthma, and the condition can be controlled with the right medication and treatment plan, says respiratory physician Dr Simon Bowler.

"There is absolutely no reason why people with asthma can't gain better control."

Dating and socialising are a major problem, with a large proportion of people in the study saying they cannot not keep up with friends during a night out. Many say they go home early.

One young woman said she didn't tell her boyfriend about her asthma on their first few dates. When she could not hide it any more, she pretended it wasn't important.

A third of men and about 20 per cent of women in the study say their asthma interferes with their sex life.

Asthma Australia CEO Mark Brooke says it is essential for people to ask their GP for help.

"Often simple changes like getting a treatment plan or reviewing their medication can help minimise the impact on patients' sex lives," said Dr Bowler, chair of the organisation's medical advisory committee.

More than half of the people in the AstraZeneca-sponsored study miss work every year because of their symptoms.

Almost two thirds have had an asthma attack at work, with 40 per cent saying stress made their symptoms worse.

One senior executive said he had been embarrassed by staff who tried to keep away from him when he had an asthma cough.

Only six per cent say their colleagues are supportive and many do not feel comfortable taking medication in front of others.


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