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Severe asthma linked to depression and anxiety

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Many people with severe asthma struggle Many people with severe asthma struggle with the condition

Asthma can have a severe impact on the wellbeing and quality of life of patients with the condition, a survey by Asthma UK has found.

The survey of 253 patients with severe asthma found 66% of respondents reported that their condition has made them or their child anxious, while 55% said they had experienced depression. Additionally, 68% said severe asthma holds them back in work and school, while 71% said the condition affects their social life.

‘Having severe asthma can result in a variety of emotions. It can be isolating, frightening and lead to feelings of hopelessness,’ said Sonia Munde, head of the Asthma UK Helpline and nurse manager. ‘It can also have a massive impact on people’s everyday lives. People also tell us that they experience feelings of guilt – because they feel like a burden on people around them and because they worry that their lifestyle choices in some way have caused their severe asthma

An estimated 3.6% to 5.0% of the 5.4 million people with asthma in UK – roughly 250,000 adults and children – have severe asthma. Severe asthma is diagnosed when people fail to respond to conventional treatments for asthma managed with a preventer inhaler containing a low dose of corticosteroids. In the survey, 38% said it took a few years to find the right combination of medicines for them. Being unable to effectively manage their condition leads to repeated visits to healthcare providers. In the survey, 45% said they had been to A&E more than 10 times (for themselves or their child) because of an asthma attack.

‘We know that some people may struggle for months or years before they're given the right diagnosis and right treatment for their severe asthma,’ said Dr Samantha Walker, director of research and policy at Asthma UK. ‘We also know that some people with severe asthma don't respond well to any of the treatments currently available and urgently need new ones to help manage their symptoms.’

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