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The assessment, diagnosis and management of asthma

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Asthma has a substantial impact on the quality of life of the 5.4 million people in the UK receiving treatment for asthma and on their families.1

Persistent symptoms cause significant morbidity and absence from work and school, and poor control results in increased hospital admissions.2 Mortality rates associated with asthma have declined since the 1960s, but 1,131 deaths were reported in 2009. Issues with inhaler technique, adherence, and response to treatment are linked to poor asthma control.3

Addressing causes of poorly-controlled asthma, and improving care for disease sufferers could avoid 75 per cent of hospital admissions and up to 90 per cent of deaths.4

Asthma is a chronic inflammatory disorder of the airways most commonly associated with allergic triggers. It can affect the trachea, the bronchi and the bronchioles, which form part of the lower respiratory tract. Asthma is associated with inflammation and swelling of the airways, increased mucus secretion and constriction of airway smooth muscle.1

These processes cause the airways to become narrow and irritated which makes it difficult to breathe and causes one or more of the following symptoms: wheeze, breathlessness, chest tightness, cough (especially at night), variable airflow obstruction.

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