Asthma UK comment on overdiagnosis media story

Dr Samantha Walker, Director of Research and Policy at Asthma UK, said:

“This illustrates the challenges that GP’s face every day because there currently isn’t one definitive way of easily diagnosing asthma. It’s astonishing in the 21st century that there isn’t a test your child can take to tell if they definitely have asthma. Asthma isn’t one condition but many, with different causes and triggered by different things at different ages. Asthma symptoms also change throughout someone’s life or even week by week and day by day. This complexity means that it is both over and underdiagnosed, in children and in adults, so people don’t get the care they need to manage their asthma effectively. As a result, a child is admitted to hospital every 20 minutes because of an asthma attack and asthma attacks still kill the equivalent of a classroom of children every year in the UK. We urgently need more investment in asthma research to get to a definitive test to ensure people get the right diagnosis.” 

Additional information

  • There are 1.1 million children with asthma in the UK (1 in 11)
  • Since inhalers have been introduced we have seen death rates reduce dramatically – they are literally the life saver in your pocket
  • 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.
  • Anyone who is concerned about their child’s asthma can call the Asthma UK Helpline on 0300 222 5800 or visit: