Thousands of severe asthma sufferers face discrimination because of a lack of understanding about the seriousness of their symptoms, a leading asthma charity has said.
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Some 250,000 people - 20% of the nation’s asthma sufferers - live with the most serious symptoms of the condition such as extreme breathing difficulties, wheezing and tightness in the chest, leaving them unable to work or even carry out day-to-day tasks.
However, despite acute asthma sufferers staking their claim as some of the heaviest users of the NHS, many non-sufferers continue to play down the seriousness of the condition, a report by Asthma UK and the Severe Asthma National Network revealed.
The findings have prompted the organisations to call for wider understanding about the condition, which affects more than five million people in the UK and claims 1,200 lives every year.
Calls have also been made to grant severe asthma sufferers better access to the state benefits system.
The report said the statistics should reveal that, despite being a well known and often manageable condition, severe asthma still poses substantial life hurdles for sufferers.
“People with severe asthma are the heaviest users of health services, and around 80% of spending on treating those with asthma is spent on the 20% with the severest symptoms,” the report said.