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Asthma 'out of control' and ignored by GPs.

More than half a million people with mild asthma are suffering an attack almost every day despite the fact their condition should be under control, a report revealed today.

Charity Asthma UK said a further one million people had to put up with an attack every week. They called for patients to have regular asthma reviews with their GP to talk about how it affected their everyday lives and give them greater control of the condition.

The report, Everyday Asthma Out of Control, claimed that even though the UK has one of the highest asthma rates in the world, there was a breakdown in communications between GPs and patients. It revealed that more than 500,000 people with mild to moderate asthma reported more than 25 attacks in the last 28 days.

The survey of 1,391 asthmatics found around 50% reported they were never or only occasionally asked by their doctors how frequently they had asthma attacks. And 40% were never or only occasionally asked about their symptoms more generally. Some 68% said their GP or practice nurse had failed to ask if their asthma had affected their ability to take part in any physical activities.

Donna Covey, chief executive of Asthma UK, said, 'This survey highlights the shocking state of affairs that people are still suffering in silence.

'We found that 75% of people with mild to moderate asthma in the UK - more than 3.5 million people - still suffer debilitating symptoms that regularly restrict their daily activities when they should be living virtually symptom free.'

The charity has launched an asthma review card - Making the Most of Your Asthma Review - with crucial questions that GPs should ask patients, such as whether they have trouble sleeping, or if everyday life has been affected.

Ms Covey said, 'Sadly, people with asthma expect their condition to compromise the way they live their lives, yet with the correct treatment and management, this simply should not be the case.

'Yet again we are calling on healthcare professionals to implement the British Guideline on Asthma Management to ensure that every person with mild to moderate asthma can live the life they want, without unnecessary symptoms.'

Professor Martyn Partridge, chief medical advisor at Asthma UK, said, 'It is very important that people with asthma have regular asthma reviews with their GP, no matter how busy they are, to discuss how asthma is affecting their life. They should work with them to devise a personal asthma action plan.'

Copies of Everyday Asthma Out of Control and the asthma review card are available by visiting www.asthma.org.uk
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Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Jul 20, 2004
Words:433
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