Health

'2m people unaware' of asthma risk

  • 16 April 2013
  • From the section Health
Man using inhaler
Image caption Inhalers can be used to stop an attack

Two million people in the UK may be unaware they are at risk of a potentially fatal asthma attack, according to the charity Asthma UK.

A survey of 50,000 people who already had asthma showed that more than half did not think they were at risk.

However, the charity said the vast majority were in fact at risk.

If the survey results applied to all asthma patients in the UK then two million people were underestimating their risk, the charity said.

One in 12 adults has asthma in the UK and more than 1,000 people die as a result of the condition each year.

In asthma, the airways can become inflamed, swollen and narrowed. Excess mucus is also produced. It results in difficulty breathing, a tight chest, wheezing and coughing.

Neil Churchill, the chief executive of the charity, said: "Millions of people with asthma are unaware that the condition can be fatal and that they are regularly taking huge risks with their lives.

"We can all help stop asthma deaths, and we need to start by changing the attitude that it's 'just' asthma."

The figures were released as part of the charity's Stop Asthma Deaths campaign.

It says ignoring symptoms when they get worse and not taking a daily preventer inhaler can increase the odds of an asthma attack.

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