06 May 2008

Two thirds of people with asthma do not lead a full life because of their condition, new survey reports

BRUSSELS, 6 May 2008, World Asthma Day (WAD) - Two in three people with asthma still feel that their condition is in some way preventing them from achieving what they want from life and one third say that they are living in fear of having an asthma attack, according to family physicians organisations who launched today their Spring into Action Campaign, based on a survey for 1800 people with asthma in the U.K., Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Sweden, Korea, Australia and Brazil .

In order to manage better with their asthma, people surveyed wished for more guidance on the different factors and triggers that can cause their asthma to worsen (49%), how to prevent an asthma attack (47%) and what to do in the event of an attack (45%). This was coupled with the finding that majority of the respondents did not know what actually happens in the lungs to cause asthma symptoms.

‘These results should act as a red flag to patients and doctors alike to indicate key discussions that should take place during consultations; patients want to be able to control their asthma and are seemingly starved of the information that will help them to do it’, said Marianella Salapatas, EFA Acting President. ‘I am delighted that patients are interested to know more, prevent and take control – we should all – patient organisations, healthcare professionals, policy makers and others support this and spring into action on asthma together with the 30 million people in Europe with asthma.

‘EFA also hopes that this survey will lead into more representative surveys, especially in the Eastern Europe to give a voice for those people with asthma who were not listened to before’.

EFA Top Tips for people with asthma, healthcare professionals and policy makers

For people with asthma:

  • Accept your asthma
  • Have respect for your breathing
  • Make others respect your breathing
  • Improve your knowledge of the disease
  • Have a good partnership with your doctor
  • Take part in defining the therapeutic plan
  • Comply with treatment
  • Undergo regular medical controls
  • Prevention: when practical, possible and cost effective avoid triggers or take measures to reduce their risk
  • Join an asthma patient's association

And thus take control of your own asthma. 

For healthcare professionals:

  • Know asthma, co-morbidities and update your knowledge
  • One size does not fit all: take into consideration the wishes, possibilities and goals for treatment of individual patients and their families
  • Discuss, agree and adjust when necessary a written self-management plan
  • Follow up with your patients
  • Share your knowledge with your patients, including uncertainties
  • Provide references for further information, education and support on asthma
  • Be a true partner with your patients
  • Be a partner for policy makers on how to improve treatment and environment

And thus improve treatment outcomes and adherence to treatment.

For policy makers:

  • Recognise asthma as a public health problem
  • Design, implement and evaluate comprehensive European and national strategy and programme on asthma in partnership with all stakeholders including organisations representing people with asthma
  • Integrate healthy indoor and outdoor environment principle in all relevant policies
  • Support and promote patient centred research into cure, prevention and treatment
  • Support and promote access for all to patient centred good quality care close to home

And thus provide better conditions for people with asthma to take control and at the same time reduce costs for asthma care and work and school absenteeism due to asthma.

For further information:

For interviews contact :

Susanna Palkonen, EFA European Federation of Allergy and Airways Diseases Patients' Associations
Gsm. +32 (0) 476 373923, Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

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