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Young people in UK most at risk of dying from asthma


The UK has the highest asthma death rate for young people aged 10-24, compared with other wealthy countries.

This is the finding of an international comparison of young people’s health conducted by the Nuffield Trust and the Association for Young People’s Health.

The report also found that the asthma mortality rate in the UK was approximately twice as high as that of the next worst country in Europe, and any improvements made have begun to stall in the last few years.

These findings follow the Asthma UK 2019 survey which found that two thirds of patients aged 18-29 are not getting basic asthma care, higher than any other age group; are more likely to have uncontrolled asthma and are twice as likely to need emergency care compared to those over 60 years old.

Dr Katherine Hickman, PCRS Executive Committee member says:  “Our complacency with regards to asthma is leading to poor management and ultimately preventable deaths. It is our responsibility to ensure that every patient with asthma walks out of our doors with a clear understanding of not only how to use their inhalers but also why they should see their preventive steroid inhaler like a Type 1 diabetic sees their insulin.

“It would also be good to encourage this age group to use technology such as digital asthma plans, Asthma UK/UK Inhaler Group videos and remote asthma reviews for patients who DNA.”

Darush Attar-Zadeh, pharmacist and PCRS Executive Committee member, adds: “Asthma Right Care is an initiative which provides patients and clinicians with an opportunity to improve asthma management and understand some of the signals of worsening control e.g. in the first instance over-reliance of SABA. We need to create a sense of urgency to do better, empowering the young patient and utilising the expertise of a skilled multidisciplinary workforce.”

What you can do:

  • Use the Asthma Right Care initiative to spread the word about improving asthma care. This campaign uses a social movement approach to change people’s minds about the way they manage their asthma.   
  • Book a place at the PCRS Respiratory Conference 2019 where you will be able to update your knowledge and skills of asthma and other respiratory conditions.