An asthma attack can be fatal

An asthmatic dies every two hours in Germany

25.09.2005

In Germany, a large number of patients still die of asthma - one every two hours! Especially those whose asthma is not optimally treated are at risk. The costs involved are also considerable ...

In Germany, one patient still dies of bronchial asthma every two hours - more often than in other European countries such as France or Spain. This emerges from the current edition of the "White Book Lung 2005", which was published jointly by the German Lung Foundation and the German Society for PneumologyPneumology
Respiratory and pulmonary medicine (pulmonology) is a branch of internal medicine that deals with the prevention, detection and specialist treatment of diseases of the lungs, bronchi, mediastinum (middle skin) and pleura (pleura and lung).
(DGP) is published. "We have around 8 million asthmatics in Germany, but many of them do not come to the right doctor or even try to treat themselves - and that in all age groups," criticizes Prof. Dieter Köhler, President of the DGP and head of the Grafschaft monastery hospital in Schmallenberg. Bronchial asthma is the most common chronic disease in childhood. Around 10 to 15% of children and around 5 to 7% of adults in Germany develop asthma.

90% of deaths preventable
Around 2% of patients, around 160,000 Germans, suffer from severe asthma with at least one threatening attack per week. "However, basically every asthma attack can be life-threatening if it is not treated early and intensively," warns Dr. Michael Barczok, resident pulmonologist at the Lung Center Ulm and media officer of the Federal Association of Pulmonologists (BdP). “Improved and more reliable treatment could prevent around 90% of deaths. Because the treatment options nowadays are basically very good - provided the pulmonologist is involved in the treatment in good time and works with the patient to develop an individually tailored treatment strategy, which the patient then pursues consistently. "Asthma patients who are not treated properly or not at all , on the other hand, have to fear that their respiratory tract will be permanently damaged as the illness progresses, so that permanent complaints can then be the result. On the other hand, consistent long-term therapy as a prerequisite for good asthma control can largely prevent worsening attacks and asthma attacks.

Asthma costs 2 billion euros annually
The treatment costs for asthmatics increase exponentially with the severity of the asthma and are between 1700 and 6000 euros per year and patient. Of the 2 billion euros annually that are incurred directly and indirectly in the treatment of asthmatics in Germany, more than a quarter - around 5 million euros - are caused by premature deaths and retirement, incapacity for work, rehabilitation and inpatient treatment. The indirect cost share is enormous: Around 10,000 days of incapacity for work were due to asthma among compulsory AOK members (excluding pensioners) in 2003. "With improved asthma control, we could shift asthma treatment even further from the inpatient to the outpatient area - and thereby reduce a large part of the treatment costs, with the corresponding increase in drug costs already being taken into account," explains Barczok. "In contrast, inadequate treatment of asthmatics is associated with more frequent attacks of deterioration, hospital admissions and absenteeism - and thus, of course, far more expensive for those affected and the social systems."

Asthmatic complaints such as coughing and shortness of breath and, above all, permanent damage to the lung tissue are rather rare with good asthma control. “The life expectancy of an appropriately treated asthmatic patient corresponds to that of a healthy person, and his quality of life does not have to be limited either. Around 10% of the Olympic champions in athletics, for example, have asthma, ”says Köhler, summarizing the options for optimal asthma therapy.

Source: White Book Lunge 2005, Ed .: H. Fabel & N. Konietzko, Thieme Verlag, 2005.