- Posted by: Mike Hedges MS
- Category: Uncategorized
MIKE HEDGES AM SUPPORTS WORLD ASTHMA DAY AND BACKS CALLS FOR BETTER ASTHMA MANAGEMENT IN WALES
Speaking from his Swansea Office, Mike Hedges AM said…. ‘I am aware that some of the worse asthma rates in Swansea exist within my Swansea East constituency and for this reason I am backing World Asthma Day and am backing the calls from the British Lung Foundation and Asthma UK for better Asthma management within Wales.
Asthma is a truly awful condition; I well remember elderly relatives years ago gasping for breath and having their lives hugely diminished by recurring attacks. Asthma is now an illness which has been transformed by new drugs and management techniques; it is still with us however, and it is an illness where we need to be vigilent and ensure that the progress made continues.
Sadly, evidence suggests that Wales remains a hotspot for the condition and health inequalities show that poor communities are worse affected.
I will be putting pressure on the Welsh Government to ensure that people in Wales get regular Asthma checks and management plans are in place for all asthmas sufferers.
If you suffer from Asthma, I recommend you follow the advice at the bottom of this release and if you experience shortness of breath, I suggest you seek medical advice as soon as possible.’
(The full report can be found here),
Asthma in Wales
Asthma is a condition that can affect 1 in 10 people in Wales of any age. It is an important factor in repeated respiratory infections in children and causes breathlessness in adults. If undiagnosed or inadequately treated it can in the short-term lead to potentially life- threatening asthma attacks and in the long-term irreversible damage to the airways.
Once a diagnosis of asthma has been achieved, information about asthma which is relevant, easy to understand and in an accessible format should be provided. Those diagnosed should all be provided with a personalised asthma action plan including relevant contacts and what to do in the event that their asthma becomes uncontrolled, including training in inhaler technique to support effective self-management strategies for the condition.
Inhaling the bigger picture, who can get Asthma?
In the UK, around 5.4 million people are currently receiving treatment for asthma. That’s one in every 12 adults and one in every 11 children. Asthma affects more boys than girls and in adults is more common in women than men. Further it tends to run in families, especially when there’s also a history of allergies and/or smoking and in deprived communities.
Asthma is a long-term condition that affects the airways, the tubes that carry air in and out of the lungs. It usually causes symptoms such as coughing, wheezing and breathlessness.
If someone comes into contact with one of their asthma triggers, it can make your symptoms worse and even bring on an asthma attack. One common trigger is poor air quality, two thirds of people with Asthma tell us that poor air quality increases the severity of their asthma symptoms and increases the risk of an asthma attack.
Key health advice for people with asthma
As the only UK wide charities looking after people living with asthma, we are advising:
- Demand your basic care. It’s important to keep and use a written asthma action plan, have your inhaler technique checked regularly and receive your annual review. We have ‘how to’ videos for many different inhalers on our website, and you can download a written asthma action plan
- If your asthma symptoms are causing problems, such as interfering with daily activities or interrupting your sleep, the best way to address this is to arrange an asthma review with your doctor or asthma nurse.
- Message one of our Asthma UK expert nurses on 07378 606 728 on WhatsApp for advice on your asthma. More information about our WhatsApp service is available here. You can also call an asthma nurse specialist on 0300 222 5800 (Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm).
- If you do have to attend A&E or receive out of hours care, make sure you demand your follow-up with your GP, even if you aren’t told to do so. If there is no availability for an urgent appointment within two working days, then ask for a phone call, so your GP can assess if you need to be seen face-to-face. Make sure you tell your healthcare professional about any recent hospital admissions during your regular asthma review.
- If you’re experiencing frequent asthma attacks, such as two a year, arrange an asthma review with your GP. With two attacks a year, you should talk to your GP about being referred to a specialist centre for further tests.
- If you manage an asthma attack yourself, always follow up with your GP afterwards. An asthma attack isn’t something you should deal with alone and could be an indicator that your medicine needs to be changed or you need more specialised care.