Asthma UK response to recent report: ‘Over-diagnosis of asthma in children in primary care: a retrospective analysis’

Don't stop your child's medicines

This is a small study that took place in a country that has a very different healthcare system to the UK. It is vital that no parent of a child with an asthma diagnosis or currently going through the diagnosis process stops them giving their medicine on the basis of this information, without talking to their doctor.

It’s important parents of children with asthma work in partnership with their GP or nurse to build a complete picture of their child’s asthma to tailor their treatment. Children should have an asthma review every 6 months.

Diagnosis is complicated

Currently, there isn’t a single, quick, easy test to find out if your child has asthma. It’s difficult to say for sure what causes asthma and the causes vary from person to person. Find out more about the process that may happen if you’re working with your doctor to get – or rule out - a diagnosis of asthma for your child.

Asthma symptoms change a lot

Asthma can change daily, weekly and throughout someone’s life, meaning treatment also needs to change over time. For example, children whose asthma is triggered by pollen may have no symptoms during a 6-monthly asthma review in winter and have completely different symptoms in the summer. Additionally, tests used to see how the lungs are functioning to help with a diagnosis cannot be used on children under the age of six – this means that children often have to go without that part of the diagnosis procedure.

We're fighting for simpler diagnosis

It is shocking that there is currently no definitive diagnostic test for a condition that affects 1 in 11 people in the UK, which is why we need more research to better understand the condition and develop these tests. We understand how important it is which is why we’re funding research to improve asthma diagnosis in children, such as this project by Professor Andy Bush.

To make a wider case for investment in asthma research, we have been leading on a project to bring together the leading respiratory scientists in Europe to develop an asthma research and development roadmap which we hope will unlock badly needed increased funding, to make breakthroughs in areas like diagnostics a reality.

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