The “Stigma” Of Asthma

In 2011, 5.4 million people in the UK are receiving treatment for asthma of which 1.1 million are children and 4.3 million are adults. This equates to one child in eleven and one adult in twelve. I don’t know about you, but personally I find this figure quite staggering and this makes asthma the most common long-term medical condition. The UK has the highest rate of asthma symptoms amongst children in the world which is not a statistic of which we can be proud.

In school classrooms in the UK, on average you will find there are two “asthmatic” children, i.e. children who suffer from asthma. However,my 6 year old son has asthma and there are at least 3 other children in his class at primary school who are fellow sufferers. As an asthma sufferer myself and a parent to an asthmatic child, I completely understand how distressing it can be to watch your child wheezing, coughing and even struggling to breathe. I am also eternally grateful for the existence and widespread availability of inhalers and preventers which make normal life possible 99% of the time.

Many people today would not think of asthma as a killer, but you would be wrong as even with modern day medical and social advances, asthma can kill. In the UK in 2009 over 1,100 people died from asthma of which 12 were children aged 14 or under. The good news is that asthma is treatable though and for the most part, deadly asthma attacks are preventable.

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