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Two million unaware of asthma attack risk

UK News | April 17, 2013


Ben Adams

Two million unaware of asthma attack risk

Asthma UK has revealed new data showing people with asthma “considerably underestimate” their risk of potentially fatal asthma attacks in the UK.

More than half of people with asthma (52%) don’t think they are at risk of an attack — but in reality nine out of ten of those people are mistaken, according to new data from the charity.

This means that nearly half of all adults with asthma - or more than two million people - are unaware they are at increased risk of an asthma attack.

These figures come as Asthma UK launches its ‘Stop Asthma Deaths’ campaign, to raise awareness of how everyday risks - like not paying attention to worsening symptoms - can lead to a potentially fatal asthma attack.

The new figures are from Asthma UK’s Triple A: Avoid Asthma Attacks test, which checks people’s risk of an asthma attack and is based on results from over 53,000 respondents.

In the UK, over 1,140 people die from asthma each year, which is higher than in Austria, Finland, Sweden, Poland and Portugal combined, according to Asthma UK, which adds that the vast majority of these deaths are preventable.

The numbers of people dying from asthma in the UK had previously been steadily declining, but progress has stalled in recent years.

Common risks which can contribute towards an asthma attack include:

•    Not taking your preventer inhaler every day

•    Ignoring worsening symptoms

•    Not having a personal asthma action plan.

Neil Churchill, chief executive of Asthma UK, says: “Millions of people with asthma are unaware that the condition can be fatal and that they are regularly taking huge risks with their lives.

“We can all help stop asthma deaths, and we need to start by changing the attitude that ‘it’s just asthma’. We’ve launched the ‘Stop Asthma Deaths’ campaign to help people reduce their chance of having of an attack — but they can’t do this alone. Healthcare professionals also have a crucial part to play in helping people manage their asthma and spotting who may be in danger.”

The Stop Asthma Deaths campaign coincides with the National Review of Asthma Deaths in the UK, a major year-long review that Asthma UK has called a “once in a generation opportunity” to stop people dying from asthma.

Asthma UK has produced a range of information to help prevent asthma deaths, including the Triple A Test and a short film called ‘Risky Steve’.

To take the test, watch the video or find out more about the Stop Asthma Deaths campaign at, visit: www.asthma.org.uk/stopasthmadeaths

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