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Many asthma deaths preventable: UK report

Many asthma deaths preventable: UK report
Photo: Many asthma deaths preventable: UK report
Australia should learn from "shocking" findings on asthma deaths in the UK, a conference in Brisbane has been told.

Complacency about asthma could be leading to preventable deaths in Australia, a conference has been told.

Better education was needed for doctors, nurses and patients to make them aware of the warning signs of poor asthma control and its associated risks, delegates were told.

The issue was highlighted at the Connecting Asthma Care conference in Brisbane on Monday when Dr Mark Levy presented the findings from the National Review of Asthma Deaths in the UK.

Describing the findings as "shocking", Dr Levy said the review found that at least 40 per cent of those who died were not taking adequate preventer medications, while reliever medications were vastly overused.
"About half the (number of) people who died did not call for, or get, help in their final asthma attack," he said.

Asthma Australia CEO Mark Brooke said one in 10 Australians was affected by asthma, but it was still not seen as a serious condition.

"Severe symptoms are often tolerated and these findings show the tragic consequences that poorly managed asthma can have," he said.

The review found that 77 per cent of those who died did not have an asthma action plan despite these plans playing an important role in managing the condition.

In Australia, only 20 per cent of adults have a plan and recent research into deaths caused by asthma found 70 per cent of them had "preventable or modifiable" factors.


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