New Asthma Coach App set to help Irish people get their asthma under control – #Apple #iOS #iPhone

Monday, 26th November 2012– Ireland has the fourth highest incidence of asthma in the world  with approximately 470,000 people living with asthma, of which 60% (282,000 people) do not have their symptoms controlled. This chronic disease is costing the country €533 million yet this could be improved with better adherence to asthma management guidelines. In response to this, the Asthma Society of Ireland has launched Asthma Coach, a new free app for iPhones and mobile website for all Smartphone devices aimed at helping people better manage their symptoms. The app is availabe to download from the Apple App Store

The app allows users to record and track their asthma symptoms, medication usage and peak flow to help them control their condition. Users may also share the diary and a graph of their asthma activities with their healthcare professional if they wish.

One in ten Irish people are affected by the inflammatory lung condition and at least one person a week dies from an asthma attack in Ireland. Speaking at the launch of Asthma Coach, Sharon Cosgrove, CEO, Asthma Society, said, “Asthma is often not recognised as a serious condition. However, over 19,000 people attend A&E due to asthma each year. Adults with asthma miss an average of 12 days of work and children miss 10 days of school. Asthma is a chronic disease which has a terrible effect on the lives of so many people. It’s essential for people with asthma to have an asthma management plan and to review it regularly with their healthcare professional. The Asthma Coach will let them do this easily in a way that fits into their busy lifestyle.”
The free app can be used by anyone with asthma and can also be used by the parent of a child with asthma to help track their condition. There are over 741,000 smartphones in Ireland, with 40% of people under 34 and 60% of mums owning a smartphone.  People with asthma and the parents of children with asthma play a key role in managing their asthma on a daily basis. Asthma symptoms and the need for medications can change over time and so the Asthma Coach allows for this to be tracked by the user or the parent. Other functions include the ability to set up helpful reminders such as when to make an appointment with the GP, when to refill a prescription, and when to do a peak expiratory flow.

Dr Basil Elnazir, Chairperson of the Asthma Society Medical Committee, said, “We hope that the app will help young people to engage in managing their own asthma. They form lifelong health habits in these years, so if they start to control their asthma now this will help them throughout their lives. We can’t change whether people have asthma or not but we can help to change their outcomes through management of their condition. The app will help them to do this in partnership with their healthcare professional.’

The project was enabled through an unrestricted educational grant from Pfizer Healthcare Ireland. The app also includes a pollen forecast from March-November, which is supported by Dyson.

Sharon Cosgrove added, “Health apps are becoming increasingly popular and the market is set to grow by 25% annually over the next five years.  The Asthma Society wants to help people with asthma to use mobile technology to help people with asthma to improve the quality of their life, their health outcomes and ultimately reduce the number of people dying of asthma every year. Over 50 deaths a year is simply too high.”

Gordon Hayden, presenter on Spin 103.8 and TV3, is participating in the Asthma Coach campaign. He was diagnosed with asthma as a child and carries his inhaler with him everywhere. Speaking at the launch of the app, he said, “I have already trialed the app and it’s given me a great way to keep on top of what my asthma triggers are and what medications I’m taking. I’m always on the go and don’t like to feel like my asthma is holding me back from anything. The app fits in with my life and helps me keep on top of my asthma instead of it getting on top of me.”

The Asthma Coach also provides users videos on how to correctly use inhalers and other devices, what to do in an emergency and how to test your peak flow.

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