Urgent warning as one million at risk of deadly condition due to wrong medication – such as asthma patients
A MILLION people are using the wrong asthma inhaler – raising their risk of a deadly attack.
Research by charity Asthma + Lung UK suggests one in five sufferers’ condition is badly controlled.
Around 75,000 Brits a year are hospitalised by the illness and four people die every day from an asthma attack.
Patients are normally given two types of inhaler to control the condition.
A blue reliever to help dampen down the symptoms, such as coughs and wheezes.
And a brown preventer that tackles inflammation and builds up protection against asthma attacks.
But research reveals a fifth of asthmatics are using their reliever inhaler at least three times too much – a sign their condition is poorly controlled.
Dr Andy Whittamore, Clinical Lead at Asthma + Lung UK and a practising GP, says: “It’s vital that people with asthma have access to a preventer inhaler and take it every day, as this keeps the inflammation down in your airways and prevents symptoms.
“You should still take your reliever inhaler when symptoms come on.
“But if you are needing it three times a week or more, this is a sign of untreated inflammation in your airways and it’s really important you make an appointment with your GP, nurse or pharmacist to discuss your treatment options.”
The charity called for “outdated” national guidance on asthma care to be updated to ensure people are being prescribed a preventer inhaler.
Sarah Woolnough, chief executive of Asthma and Lung UK, said:
“People with asthma are being let down by dismal rates of basic care caused by pressures on the NHS and outdated treatment guidelines.
“Four people still die of an asthma attack every day but deaths from asthma are often preventable. We don’t want to see any more lives needlessly cut short.”
Around five million Brits live with the condition that can trigger breathing difficulties and potentially fatal attacks.
Triggers can include cold air, pollution, coughs and colds, and grass pollen.
Just last week asthmatics across the country were warned about the dangers of the hot weather.
Around 64 per cent of people living with the condition are triggered by hot weather.
It means that close to 3.4million of the 5.4million asthmatics in the UK could experience a deadly attack or see an exacerbation of symptoms such as breathlessness, wheezing and coughing as the temperatures go up.
Emma Rubach, Head of Health Advice at A + L UK said strong sunshine causes the level of ozone and other air pollutants in the atmosphere to rise, which can trigger symptoms.
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