Every 10 seconds someone is having a potentially life threatening asthma attack in the UK. A frightening statistic as according to research complied by Office for National Statistics (England and Wales), the number of people dying from asthma in the UK has reached its highest level in over a decade, with 1,468 people in the UK dying from asthma attacks.
With around 5.4 million people suffering with asthma in the UK, affecting 1 in 11 children and 1 in 12 adults, it comes as a surprise that millions of sufferers are not receiving the basic level of asthma care.
According to Asthma UK, two-thirds, around 3.6 million of sufferers are not being given the fundamental care to effectively manage their condition. Worryingly still the charity say that two-thirds of asthma deaths were preventable if they had been receiving the right basic level of care.
With an increasing number of asthma attacks leading to death, and a hospital admission every 8 minutes, basic asthma care should be now become a high priority, the charity warns. Basic care includes having annual asthma reviews, being on the correct medication, knowing how to use it and having a written asthma action plan in place. This in turn would reduce the impact of asthma, reduce hospital admissions and improve the lives of hundreds of thousands of asthma sufferers.
The charity’s clinical lead, Dr Andy Whittamore says;
“It is worrying that basic care is not being delivered on a consistent basis because every person with asthma should be receiving this care,”
Kay Boycott, chief executive of Asthma UK, said:
“The alarming increase in asthma deaths over the last decade is an urgent wake-up call to the government to take action to improve standards of asthma care now. A huge opportunity to do this lies in making already existing digital health technology more widely available on the NHS.
It is clear that expecting old ways to tackle long-standing problems won’t work. We must take a bold new approach and take advantage of new asthma digital health solutions to transform the way asthma care is delivered and support self-management.
Digital asthma action plans, smart inhalers and automated GP alerts are just some of the ways asthma care could be brought up to date and help reduce the risk of potentially fatal asthma attacks.”
With the charity calling on the government to take action to improve the basic level of asthma care, there are a number of steps that asthma sufferers can also be taking to greatly reduce their risk of an asthma attack.
Have regular asthma reviews with your GP or nurse.
Ensure you take your medicines as prescribed
Ensure you know how to correctly use your inhalers
Follow your asthma action plan which can cut the risk of ending up in hospital by 4 times.
Avoid any potential triggers
Get a good night’s sleep
Following this advice from Asthma UK will ensure your asthma remains well controlled with on going management.
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