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Thursday, 24 January, 2002, 08:27 GMT
Asthma cases on the rise
Lung test
The UK has one of the highest asthma rates
The number of people suffering from asthma in Scotland has increased, according to a new report.

Estimates from the National Asthma Campaign Scotland (NACS) put the number of people with the condition at 310,000.

Almost half the sufferers are children between two and 15 years.

The charity has called on the Scottish Executive to raise the standards of asthma care services available across the country.


We must work together to ensure that the care of every person with asthma in Scotland, wherever he or she lives, at least meets the standards set out in existing national guidelines

NACS director Marjory O'Donnell
About 30 MSPs are expected to attend a meeting at the Scottish Parliament to discuss the findings of the report.

An audit carried out by the NACS in 1997/1998 estimated that 164,000 adults and 128,000 children had the condition.

Asthma was classified as a rare disease until the mid-1950s, but in recent times more cases have been reported, particularly in developed or industrialised countries.

Some of the main theories for the increase include greater recognition and treatment of the condition by doctors and changes in lifestyle patterns and diet.

The NACS report concludes that asthma has become more common over the past few decades and that, despite this, few health boards in Scotland have designated the condition as a priority in their region.

Care standards

NACS director Marjory O'Donnell said: "National commitment from policy-makers such as the Scottish Executive is needed to drive improvement of asthma care.

"We must work together to ensure that the care of every person with asthma in Scotland, wherever he or she lives, at least meets the standards set out in existing national guidelines."

She said health boards and professionals needed to review local standards of care and address any issues raised.

The report, which is being formally unveiled at the Scottish Parliament on Thursday, is being backed by Scottish National Party MSP Margo MacDonald.

She said: "It gives a clear and focused overview of what needs to be done for a better deal for people with asthma in Scotland."

See also:

01 Oct 01 | Health
Parenting link to asthma
25 Sep 01 | Health
Passive smoking 'causes asthma'
11 Sep 01 | Health
Asthma rate 'soars'
29 Sep 99 | Health
Asthma risk for big babies
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