Asthma is the most common chronic respiratory disease in the Republic of Ireland affecting people of all ages and all socio-economic groups. Ireland has the fourth highest prevalence of Asthma worldwide, and current estimates suggest that there are approximately 450,000 people with doctor-diagnosed asthma in Ireland (approx. 1 in 10 of population). The prevalence is even higher in children with about 21% of children affected. Asthma is often under-diagnosed and uncontrolled, creating a substantial burden of ill-health to individuals, their families and the economy.
The vision of the National Clinical Programme for Asthma is that every child and every adult with asthma in Ireland should reach their maximal health and quality-of-life potential through the prevention, early detection and effective treatment of asthma.
The National Clinical Programme for Asthma has developed a Model of Care towards achieving this.
The aims of the programme are to:
- Maximise health and quality of life of people with asthma
- Prevent avoidable mortality due to asthma
The aims will be achieved through the following objectives:
- To improve access to structured integrated asthma care for patients diagnosed with asthma that will address asthma education in the most appropriate setting
- To facilitate the provision of guideline concordant care, based upon level of control, to patients with asthma
- To maximise the proportion of patients with asthma whose asthma is controlled
- To identify appropriate resources needed to deliver on the aims of the National Clinical Programme for Asthma
- To engage with key stakeholders and foster relationships in order to deliver on the aims of the National Clinical Programme for Asthma
There are other types of asthma that can be made worse by certain activities:
- Work-aggravated asthma is pre-existing asthma that is made worse by dust and fumes at work.
- Occupational asthma is caused by exposure to specific substances at work. For example, some nurses develop occupational asthma after exposure to latex, and some workers in the food-processing industry develop occupational asthma as a response of exposure to flour.
- While there is no cure for asthma, symptoms can come and go throughout your life. A number of treatments can help control the condition very effectively. Treatment is based on two important goals:
- relief of symptoms
- preventing future symptoms and attacks from developing
Successful prevention can be achieved through a combination of medicines that are used effectively and lifestyle advice. The identification of personal triggers and the avoidance of an identified trigger is key to preventing asthma attacks.