Today is World Asthma Day, a day to raise awareness of the respiratory disease asthma. In the UK alone, 5.4million people have asthma – or roughly 1 in 11, and this includes me. I was diagnosed as being asthmatic when I was three years old, so taking medication to treat it has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember.
Although asthma is common, and treatable, three people still die from asthma every day in the UK. More worrying is the news that as many as half of asthma deaths are preventable if patients are given better routine care. And around 75% of hospital admissions caused by asthma could be avoided, again, if better primary care is provided.
My own asthma is reasonably well controlled. I’ve been to hospital once because of my asthma, in 2007, but generally my inhalers (Seratide and Salamol) and tablets (Montelukast) keep my symptoms at bay. Moving to a less polluted area, and not living in a house with issues with dust and damp also helped as well. I get annual checkups with a nurse, but haven’t needed to see a doctor about a change in medication for some years now. Some other people are not so lucky.
If you, or a relative has recently been diagnosed as an asthmatic, then the guides on Asthma UK’s web site are very helpful. In particular, I’d suggest completing the Triple A test to make sure that you’re receiving the right level of treatment for your symptoms, and, if not, that you consult medical advice from a doctor, nurse or pharmacist. Asthma UK is a charity that relies on donations – now may be a good time to send some money their way. That way, they can support asthma sufferers and to fund new treatments – and, hopefully, one day, a cure.