World Health Organisation figures for 2007 estimate there are 300 million asthma sufferers worldwide, and mortality rates are on the rise.
Asthma is a chronic disease characterised by recurrent attacks of breathlessness and wheezing, which vary in severity and frequency from person to person. It is the most common chronic disease among children, and is currently under-diagnosed and, in many cases, under-treated.
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD ) is commonly seen in older smokers and characterised by chronic bronchitis and emphysema. Symptoms experienced are typically a persistent productive cough and shortness of breath, with increased susceptibility to respiratory infections. This condition tends to worsen in the winter months.
Research has demonstrated that 64 per cent of asthma and COPD patients are under-using preventer inhalers. A poor inhaler technique can result in worsening asthma control, defined by night-time cough, wheeze, chest tightness, and shortness of breath.
In response to this increasing problem, pharmacy staff at Boots in Golden Island shopping centre, Athlone, are running an asthma awareness event this Friday November 28.
The aim of this event is to raise awareness about, and improve, the management of these common respiratory illnesses. Free consultations will include peak flow measurements, a review of inhaler technique, and any other relevant medication issues can be discussed. Information leaflets about the disease and its management will also be available.