Infographic by GAAPP on fighting for breath statistics

VIENNA, VIRGINIA (SEPTEMBER 12, 2017) – Asthma affects more than 334 million people globally and impacts patients and caregivers in many ways, from limitations in daily physical and social activities to psychological and emotional struggles. Its impact on quality of life is among the key takeaways from the “Still Fighting for Breath” global data released at the European Respiratory Society International Congress in Milan, Italy.

U.S.-based Allergy & Asthma Network, the leading nonprofit patient education and advocacy organization dedicated to ending needless death and suffering due to asthma and allergies, released the data in partnership with Novartis and as part of the Global Allergy and Asthma Patient Platform (GAAPP). GAAPP is a global organization comprised of 34 patient advocacy organizations dedicated to a world without allergies and asthma.

The research, compiled via online surveys and interviews, included adult patients and caregivers of pediatric patients from the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Canada, Brazil and Japan.

Key data from the research revealed:

  • 94 percent of respondents reported either partial control or uncontrolled asthma under the Global Initiative for Asthma (GINA) guidelines, yet 42 percent perceived they were well controlled.
  • 86 percent of respondents reported experiencing an asthma flare in the past 12 months.
  • While most patients physically recover from an asthma flare within 24 hours, more than half of patients needed longer than 24 hours to recover emotionally and psychologically.
  • Nine out of 10 adults and two-thirds of children with asthma felt limited in their daily activities. Meanwhile, 69 percent of caregivers said they felt limited due to their child’s asthma.
  • About half of patients reported asthma impacted their self-esteem, while 40 percent experienced anxiety and 28 percent reported depression.
  • 58 percent of adults in the survey believe asthma negatively impacts their work lives.
  • 1 in 5 patients only use quick-relief inhalers to treat their asthma.

Many patients cited simply getting up in the morning, cooking a meal or going grocery shopping as a challenge because of their asthma. Others cited going out with friends or joining holiday celebrations as difficult due to asthma.

Patient comments obtained as part of the research were equally as telling:

“I have to live within my limitations … I’m not as fit and active as I would like to be anymore.” – U.K. patient

“I am limited physically. I am always tired and irritable. I often feel depressed.” – U.K. patient

“I am not able to perform simple tasks in my daily life. It makes me feel disabled.” – Spanish patient

“The data shows many patients are not managing their asthma well and the result is a reduced quality of life,” says Tonya Winders, President and CEO of Allergy & Asthma Network and current President of GAAPP. “When patients limit their daily physical and social activities due to asthma, it can impact their self-esteem and lead to anxiety and depression.

Healthcare providers play a vital role in helping patients better manage their asthma. A personalized Asthma Action Plan given to the patient should detail what daily and/or quick-relief asthma medications are necessary, how to avoid or reduce exposure to asthma triggers, and how to recognize and handle worsening symptoms.

“No patient should accept uncontrolled asthma as a part of their lives,” Winders says.

About Allergy & Asthma Network

Allergy & Asthma Network is the leading national nonprofit organization dedicated to ending needless death and suffering due to asthma, allergies and related conditions. Allergy & Asthma Network specializes in sharing patient-friendly, medically reviewed information through its award-winning Allergy & Asthma Today magazine, E-newsletter, website and numerous community outreach programs.

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About Global Allergy & Asthma Patient Platform

Headquartered in Vienna, Austria, the Global Allergy & Asthma Patient Platform was established in 2009 as a network linking people and organizations with a common interest: the support for and improvement of the quality of life of people around the globe who have allergies and asthma. Since then, GAAPP has grown into a vibrant worldwide organization with more than 30 constituent members from every continent sharing information and best practices, concerns and hopes.

About Novartis

Located in East Hanover, New Jersey, Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation is an affiliate of Novartis AG, which provides innovative healthcare solutions that address the evolving needs of patients and societies. Headquartered in Basel, Switzerland, Novartis offers a diversified portfolio to best meet these needs: innovative medicines, eye care and cost-saving generic pharmaceuticals. Novartis is the only global company with leading positions in these areas. In 2015, the Group achieved net sales of $49.4 billion, while R&D throughout the Group amounted to approximately $8.9 billion ($8.7 billion excluding impairment and amortization charges). Novartis Group companies employ approximately 118,000 full-time-equivalent associates. Novartis products are available in more than 180 countries around the world. For more information, please visit