Many asthma patients who passed away from their condition were excessively using their reliever inhaler in the months leading up to their deaths, a study has found.
The Royal College of Physicians said the heavy use suggested they were not managing their condition well.
They also found:
- Medics should have spotted that they were repeatedly prescribing these inhalers and taken action.
- Meanwhile one in 10 of those who died had been admitted to hospital for an acute asthma attack within four weeks of their death.
- The report found that 45% of those people who died following an asthma failed to call for help or obtain help during their attack and the vast majority of children died even before they reached hospital.
Asthma patients are dying needlessly because of poor care, a scathing report has found.
The Royal College of Physicians said there were "major avoidable factors" in around two thirds of the asthma deaths they examined.
Experts pointed to poor information, education and advice given to patients on how to manage their condition as to reasons behind avoidable asthma deaths.
These factors are leading to a large number of deaths which could otherwise have been prevented, the report says.
In the UK, three people die from asthma every day and every 10 seconds someone suffers from a potentially life-threatening attack.
Ed Davey showed MPs he was among those suffering the effects of "very high" air pollution levels during Energy Secretary's Questions today.
The Energy Secretary whipped out his blue inhaler following a question on pollution, saying, "I'm sorry he is suffering, I can show him that I am suffering too".
He went on to say, "Air pollution is a very serious issue ... we take it very seriously."
Health warnings have been issued in parts of the UK as air pollution has hit "high" or "very high" levels.Read the full story ›
Asthma UK has issued advice for sufferers as pollution levels are set to hit "high" and "very high" levels in parts of the country.
The charity urges asthma sufferers to check the air pollution forecast for their area on the Defra website and if levels are high:
- Avoid strenuous exercise outside
- Avoid visiting congested areas, particularly in the afternoon
- Keep on top of asthma symptoms with an asthma action plan
- Have your reliever inhaler with you at all times
If you think that you may be having an asthma attack, take one to two puffs of your reliever inhaler (usually blue), immediately.
Sit down and try to take slow, steady breaths - if you do not feel any better, take another two puffs of the reliever inhaler every two minutes, up to ten puffs.
Researcher found that the risk of developing asthmatic symptoms was the same for both pre-school and school-age children.
Study leader Dr Jasper Been, from the University of Edinburgh's Centre for Population Health Sciences, said:
Doctors and parents need to be aware of the increased risks of asthma in premature babies, in order to make early diagnosis and intervention possible.
By changing the way we monitor and treat children born preterm, we hope to decrease the future risks of serious breathing problems, including asthma.
Our findings should help find better ways to prevent and treat asthma and asthma-like symptoms in those born pre-term.
The researchers studied data on around 1.5 million children pooled from 30 studies from six continents. Four of the research papers were from the UK.
Scientists say that with increasing numbers of babies surviving premature birth, childhood asthma is set to become a significant health problem.
The research showed that average asthma rates rose to 14% in babies born prematurely, defined as at least three weeks early.
Those born more than three weeks before the usual 40-week pregnancy term were almost 50% more likely than full-term babies to develop asthma. And babies born more than two months early were three times more at risk.
New research has shown that being born prematurely can triple a baby's risk of developing childhood asthma, new research has shown.
A study suggests the link between pre-term birth and asthma, or wheezing conditions, is higher than was previously thought.
Asthma is already the most common chronic disease in childhood, affecting around 8% of offspring born after a normal-length pregnancy.
Scientists have found a renegade gene which could be the direct cause of severe asthma in young children.
The gene, CDHR3, is especially active in epithelial cells lining the inner surfaces of the airways.
Researchers studied and compared the complete genetic codes, or genomes, of 3,695 Danish children and adults with asthma, including a number of children under the age of six.
Lead researcher Dr Hakon Hakonarson, from the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (Chop) in the US, said: "Because asthma is a complex disease, with multiple interacting causes, we concentrated on a specific phenotype - severe, recurrent asthma occurring between ages two and six.
"Identifying a risk-susceptibility gene linked to this phenotype may lead to more effective, targeted treatments for this type of childhood asthma."
Asthma sufferers have been urged to be more vigilant after a poll found that half of those with the condition do not think they are at risk from a fatal attack.
Asthma UK said that out of 50,000 sufferers they spoke to, 52 per cent do not think they are at risk, but nine out of ten are mistaken.
"Millions of people with asthma are unaware that the condition can be fatal and that they are regularly taking huge risks with their lives," said Asthma UK's chief executive Neil Churchill.