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Health professionals warn that ‘asthma is still dangerous’

The UK is home to over 5.5 million asthmatics, so throughout the healthcare system people are trained well in how to deal with patients suffering from the condition and its symptoms or effects.

It is stated that complacency among both medical staff and patients is responsible for the rise in asthma attack deaths over the past few years. The National Review of Asthma Deaths say that sufferers and medics must become better at recognising the danger signs the condition can carry.

Although death rates linked to the disease have been falling over recent years, there were still 1,242 deaths from the condition in 2012, making the UK one of the highest asthma death hotspots in Europe.

The nationwide study involved a detailed examination of the circumstances surrounding 195 deaths linked to asthma, and the key findings included the standard of care received was less than satisfactory in a quarter of cases where people died and there was “room for improvement” in the care received by 83% of those who died. Deficiencies were also found in both routine care and in the treatment of attacks.

The report also found a widespread under-use of preventer inhalers and excessive over-reliance on reliever inhalers. Over half of those who died were being treated for mild or moderate asthma at the time; experts concluded that this was mostly because neither doctors nor patients themselves recognised how serious their asthma really was.

Researchers found that both clinicians and patients had become complacent about the disease- an issue picked up by Asthma UK, a nationwide charity for the condition, last year, in which they stated “It’s not ‘just’ asthma” and that a Daily Mail story complaining that the 25,000 people that claim Disability Living Allowance for having severe asthma. Asthma UK responded to the article claiming that they have ‘made a dangerous assumption, shared by many, that asthma is not serious. In fact, asthma is a potentially fatal condition and can be so debilitating that it renders people housebound. Today, more than 200 people will be rushed to hospital with a severe asthma attack. Three people will die.’

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