Asthma is a chronic global disease with symptoms such as coughing, wheezing and shortness of breath
There are estimated to be over 330 million sufferers worldwide and a quarter of a million deaths every year.
There are 5.4 million asthma sufferers in the UK alone.
Every 10 seconds someone in the UK is having an asthma attack which is so severe it is potentially life threatening.
The cost of asthma to the NHS is estimated at over £1billion per year, with a further estimated cost of £6 billion pounds to the UK economy.
Medicine is available to help 95% of sufferers get their condition under control and be symptom free.
The condition is controlled by increasing medication usage as the condition begins to get worse. But studies and surveys show that between 50% and 85% of asthmatics do not have control of their condition.
An uncontrolled asthma sufferer can cost the healthcare system six times as much as a sufferer who has control of their condition.
So how does an asthmatic control their condition?
They alter their medication usage.
But the key question is
"How does an asthma sufferer know that their asthma is getting worse?".
They need to monitor their condition in order to properly manage it. There are two main techniques they can use to monitor their asthma:
They can use devices to measure their condition, for example a peak flow meter, the standard home monitoring tool.
But many sufferers don’t use them because they don’t like them: “it’s uncomfortable”, “it can trigger an asthma attack” or “the results aren’t consistent”. Elderly patients using a peak flow meters can experience fainting and elderly female patients can experience urinary incontinence.
Patients can try and keep track of their symptoms and use those to guide their medication use.
But changes can be so gradual that they are struggling to breathe when they walk up a flight of stairs before they’ve noticed how bad it has become. By then it can be too late.