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19th Jun 2019

Ireland has one of the highest death rates from asthma in Western Europe

 “At present, six people in Ireland die every six days as a result of their asthma.”

Ireland has the poorest mortality outcome from asthma in Western Europe.

The Asthma Society of Ireland has warned that the country is “getting asthma management wrong” causing a serious economic burden.

A new report has shown that there were 421,000 specialist and 133,000 Emergency Department visits from asthma related problems in Ireland in 2017, as well as 8,000 hospital admissions.

The group has warned that the country does not promote an adequate asthma self-management programme that could reduce the economic burden as well as the amount of people hospitalised with asthma related issues – problems that cost the country €472 every year.

The Asthma Society of Ireland’s CEO Sarah O’Connor said that their recent research shows that the country’s approach to the illness is being mismanaged.

“Structurally, (the system) revolves solely around the asthma patient in crisis and fails in long-term control,” she said.

“We can see that, in comparison to other countries in Western Europe, Ireland has the poorest mortality outcome from asthma and one of the highest asthma hospitalisation rates.

“Uncontrolled asthma costs the individual and the state – research shows that 60 percent of Irish people with asthma do not have it controlled.  Sadly, at present, six people in Ireland die every six days as a result of their asthma.”

Marcus Butler, medical director of the Asthma Society of Ireland, said that asthma related deaths are “largely preventable” and that patients should have the capacity to be “getting on with their lives with minimal intrusion from what is largely a very treatable condition.”

“Asthma death rates are falling in many developed countries, but alarmingly, they appear to be rising in Ireland,” he said.

“This research contends that a national self-management programme for all asthma patients, irrespective of age, has a high likelihood of substantial cost savings, not to mention the precious safe-guarding of human life and wellbeing that underpins all of our efforts in the asthma community.”

One in 13 people in Ireland currently have asthma.

Compared to 14 other European countries, Ireland had the highest death rate from asthma in 2015.