Information for the public

Asthma: the care you should expect

Asthma is a common lung condition that affects the airways and can cause serious breathing difficulties. Every day 185 people in the UK are admitted to hospital with an asthma attack, and 5.4 million people are using treatments for asthma. Once asthma is diagnosed it does not have to limit people’s lives. There are lots of treatments to keep symptoms under control, but finding a treatment that works well and learning how to manage it takes the right support and advice.

We want this guideline to make a difference to children, young people and adults with asthma by making sure:  

  • doctors offer you the right tests to confirm your asthma as early as possible
  • you can take control of your care by having your own asthma care plan and help to use it
  • you know how to take your asthma medicines and what to do if they are not working
  • you get regular support to make sure you’re using your medicines correctly, for example checking your inhaler technique (the NHS website has more information about this)
  • you are helped to reduce the amount of medicine you are taking when your asthma is well controlled, so that you are not taking medicine that you don’t need.

Making decisions together

Decisions about treatment and care are best when they are made together. Your health professionals should give you clear information, talk with you about your options and listen carefully to your views and concerns.

To help you make decisions, think about:

  • What are you most worried about – are there aspects of asthma and its treatment that worry you more than others?
  • How will the treatment affect your day to day life?
  • Whether there are changes you can make to help control your asthma, such as taking your medicine correctly, stopping smoking or identifying triggers

If you can’t understand the information you are given, tell your health professional.

Read more about making decisions about your care.

In the news

Read NICE news about how this guideline will help.

New ways to diagnose and manage asthma can improve care, says NICE

New tests to help diagnose asthma and a change in how medicines are offered can help people take control of their asthma, NICE says in new guidance.

Where can I find out more?

The NHS website has more information about asthma.

The organisations below can give you more advice and support.

NICE is not responsible for the content of these websites.

We wrote this guideline with people who have been affected by asthma and staff who treat and support them. All the decisions are based on the best research available.

ISBN: 978-1-4731-2462-2

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