ASTHMA attack rates are three times higher than previously estimated – with Brits suffering nearly 11 million deadly episodes every year.
New research shows a person in the UK suffers a life-threatening episode every three seconds.
There are almost 11 million fatal attacks in the UK every year[/caption]
Earlier studies found the average was one every 10 seconds.
The updated figures come from Asthma UK, who surveyed more than 10,000 patients. They reported having an attack on average twice a year.
With 5.4 million British sufferers, experts calculated this averaged one attack every three seconds.
Asthma attacks can be fatal, killing three people a day.
The condition affects the airways, narrowing them and making it harder to breathe.
Triggers can include cold air, coughs and colds, and grass pollen.
Dr Andy Whittamore, clinical lead at Asthma UK, said: “It is shocking to think that every three seconds in the UK someone could be having an asthma attack, a terrifying experience than can cause distress and in some cases prove fatal.
“Asthma attacks do not come out of the blue and if people recognise the tell-tale signs that an attack is about to strike, they can get the help that could save their life.”
Patients using their reliever inhaler more than twice weekly or who are waking up at night because of their asthma should contact their GP, the charity warns.
They should also seek help if their symptoms – such as wheezing or a cough – are getting noticeably worse.
Experts recommend patients with a preventer inhaler take it daily to build up protection against asthma attacks.
Kelly May, 31, a hairdresser from London, has had hundreds of asthma attacks since she was a year old.
She said: “Having an asthma attack can feel like being a fish out of water and it’s terrifying.
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“No matter what I do, I can’t catch my breath. I try not to panic but in the back of my mind I know I need to get to A&E or it could be fatal.
“People think that asthma isn’t serious, but I’ve had asthma attacks at work and it’s terrifying for those around me.”
NHS data shows there were more than 77,000 hospital admissions for the condition last year.
Patients needing to use their inhaler more than twice a week should contact their GP[/caption]
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