To coincide with Men's Health Week (11-16 June 2007), Asthma UK and Haynes Publishing have produced an information booklet in the style of the well-known car maintenance manuals, to help ensure that over 2.5 million men with asthma in the UK are managing their condition effectively.
Research conducted by Asthma UK has shown that a massive 81% percent of people with asthma across the UK are not in control of their asthma and could be living with unnecessary symptoms that affect their day-to-day quality of life. On average four people die every day from asthma and it is estimated that as many as 90% of those deaths are avoidable. Improved self-management of the condition could play a significant part in preventing these needless tragedies.
Dot Russell, asthma nurse on the Asthma UK Adviceline says: 'If you need to use your reliever inhaler more than once a day then your asthma may be poorly controlled and you should see your doctor or asthma nurse for an asthma review as soon as possible.'
Having a written personal asthma action plan is recommended to help people with asthma to manage their condition more effectively. Research has shown that people with asthma who do not have a plan are four times more likely than those with one to have an asthma attack requiring hospital treatment.
Dot continues: 'Your doctor or asthma nurse, in discussion with you, should complete a written personal asthma action plan. It will contain the information you need to keep control of your asthma, including details about your asthma medicines, how to tell when your symptoms are getting worse and what you should do about it, and emergency information on what to do if you have an asthma attack. Having a plan is one of the most effective ways of controlling your asthma.'
Sunil Duggal, 33, used to have very severe asthma symptoms that affected many aspects of his life and stopped him enjoying sport. He says: 'My asthma used to be really bad but now I monitor my symptoms much more closely. Just being aware of your triggers can really help. I'm allergic to quite a few animals and being around them can bring on my asthma, so if I know I'm going to see somebody who has a pet, I take an anti-histamine tablet beforehand and keep my inhaler with me at all times. I'm also able to play a lot more sport now and have run a few half marathons. I definitely feel I'm in control of my asthma now, rather than my asthma controlling me.'
The Asthma UK & Haynes mini manual is one of a series of information booklets available on a broad range of long-term conditions during Men's Health Week. The booklets have been designed in the style of car maintenance manuals and include information on making better use of NHS services and advice on improving self-care.
To obtain a free copy of the Asthma UK & Haynes mini manual, please call the Asthma UK Supporter & Information Team on 020 7786 5000 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. A copy of the manual can also be downloaded from asthma.org.uk.
For independent and confidential advice about asthma, contact the Asthma UK Adviceline on 08457 01 02 03, or email an asthma nurse via our website, at asthma.org.uk/adviceline.