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Many asthma patients 'misdiagnosed'

30 January 2015 09:41

A new study has revealed that many people with asthma may have been misdiagnosed

A new study has revealed that many people with asthma may have been misdiagnosed

New guidance is to be issued to help doctors spot signs of asthma after recent research found three in 10 people receiving treatment for the condition may have been given the wrong diagnosis.

More than one million of the 4.1 million Britons currently being treated for asthma may not have the incurable condition and could have been receiving the wrong treatment for years, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (Nice) said.

Nice is now planning to publish new guidelines for GPs in England, including a whole range of tests, to help increase the number of correct diagnoses.

Asthma is thought to affect a total of 5.4 million people in the UK, among them 1.1 million children.

It is one of the most common chronic childhood diseases in the world, and one in 10 suffer from an especially severe form of the condition which makes them subject to frequent asthma attacks - even when taking strong medicines.

This is why specialist asthma travel insurance is available - to give you peace of mind when you're abroad.

Nice's director of clinical practice, Professor Mark Baker, said asthma attacks can become life-threatening if they are not treated, but most people can bring their symptoms under control if they are given the right medication and receive monitoring.

He added that inaccurate asthma diagnoses are a major problem which cause thousands of people to be wrongly diagnosed, or to have their condition missed by doctors.

The new guidelines are aimed at giving GPs more clarity and highlighting the best ways to diagnose and monitor asthma "based on the best available evidence", Professor Baker said.

It also offers advice for healthcare professionals on which tests are best suited to help them accurately diagnose asthma, and on how to help patients monitor and control their symptoms.