In the last 15 years the prevalence of asthma has increased by approximately 3.6%. The aftermath of covid-19 has left many vulnerable, with 56% of survey respondents stating that the pandemic has made managing their asthma more challenging. Just as health systems are trying to recuperate and on much leaner budgets, climate change is adding further stress. There urgently needs to be a coordinated global response to better manage the condition.
Poorly controlled asthma has a much higher economic burden than well managed asthma. Adults with frequent asthma exacerbations need more hospital care, and so are experiencing missed workdays and productivity losses at a higher rate (average 13 days a year). Compare that to those with controlled asthma, for whom these rates are similar to that of healthy people.
The FUture of RespiraTory HEalth Readiness (FURTHER) Initiative is a globally relevant effort to address important questions on the future landscape of chronic respiratory disease. Every breath you take: Taking the patient voice FURTHER in their asthma journey is a report that focuses on asthma, launching today at the ERS International Congress 2022. The report highlights a persistent problem in getting consistent, high-quality care and solutions for respiratory issues, one of the most prevalent and economically damaging non-communicable diseases in the world.
Economist Impact carried out a survey of asthma patients spanning 13 countries , looking at how they perceived their current treatment, as well as what hope they had for future care.
Key findings from the patient survey:
There is no gold standard for asthma diagnosis, and treatment options and approaches can vary. This survey highlights some of the needs and gaps along a patient’s asthma journey that still exist, and warrant continued efforts to improve asthma care.
Alongside the survey, the FURTHER initiative brought together experts from across the scientific, medical and patient community to deliberate and discuss the current state of asthma care and establish four actionable recommendations to benefit patients globally.
It is estimated 70-90% of people using asthma inhalers make mistakes with use. The panel reported that a lack of patient education is an influential factor in the mismanagement of asthma globally. It is crucial to ensure better education for asthma patients so that they have a better understanding of their disease, its triggers and its treatment. Together with HCPs, patients can then truly participate in their care and find a plan that will work best for them. Patient empowerment ensures that patient voices are valued and treatment plans can be adhered to. It is not about patients having decision-making autonomy on when to take their medication or react to symptoms, but about equipping them with the resources and tools to better understand and manage their condition.