Asthma is defined as an inflammatory disease of the lungs and airways, which causes the muscles in the airways to tighten and restrict, thus narrowing the passage of air. According to a survey on asthma severity conducted in 2014, 49 percent of individuals in the UK had ‘moderate’ asthma, whereas 39 percent had ‘severe’ asthma.
There is currently no cure for asthma, but there are treatments available to manage the symptoms. Salbutamol is the leading bronchodilator dispensed in England for the management of obstructive lung conditions. Bronchodilators work by dilating the bronchi and bronchioles, thus decreasing resistance in the airway and increasing airflow to the lungs.
Since 2006, the number of individuals admitted to hospital with asthma in an emergency has decreased. According to the same data, children aged under nine years old are the most likely group to be admitted to hospital due to an asthma attack. In a survey conducted in 2014, it was found that deaths from asthma could have been avoided by implementing asthma guidelines.
Occupational asthma is a type of asthma which is triggered by stimuli in the workplace environment. The number of new cases identified in the UK have decreased since 2005. It was reported that the main industry for the development of occupational asthma was in the manufacture of food products, with the leading causative agent being isocyanates.