Burden of Respiratory Disorders in the UK
Four of the most common respiratory diseases in the UK are asthma, COPD, bronchiectasis and cystic fibrosis.
Asthma is the most prevalent of these; in the UK, 5.4 million people are currently receiving treatment for asthma.1 That is one in every 12 adults and one in every 11 children.1
The second most prevalent lung disorder is chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). It is thought there are over three million people living with the COPD in the UK, of which only about 900,000 have been diagnosed. This is because many people who develop the symptoms of COPD do not seek medical help because they often dismiss their symptoms as a ‘smoker’s cough’.2
Bronchiectasis is fairly uncommon by comparison; it is estimated that about one in every 1,000 adults in the UK have the condition.3 It can affect anyone at any age, but symptoms don’t usually develop until middle age. Almost 16,000 people visited hospital in England during 2011-12 with bronchiectasis, of which almost 12,000 were aged 60 or older.3
Of these lung diseases, cystic fibrosis affects the fewest number of people in the UK. It is estimated that one in every 2,500 babies born in the UK will be born with cystic fibrosis and there are over 9,000 people living with the condition in this country.4 Cystic fibrosis can remain undiagnosed for many years, at times into adulthood.5
- NHS Choices, Asthma, at: http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Asthma/Pages/Introduction.aspx. Accessed November 2013.
- NHS Choices, COPD, at: http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/chronic-obstructive-pulmonary-disease/pages/introduction.aspx. Accessed November 2013.
- NHS Choices, Bronchiectasis, at: www.nhs.uk/conditions/bronchiectasis/pages/introduction.aspx. Accessed November 2013.
- NHS Choices, Cystic fibrosis, at: http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Cystic-fibrosis/Pages/Introduction.aspx. Accessed November 2013.
- Schram C, Canadian Family Physician December 2012; vol. 58; no. 12 1341-1345.