We need to start taking asthma seriously

Asthma costs Ireland €472 million per year. Here’s how reducing hospitalisations, emergency department visits and GP consultations could improve asthma patients’ lives and save the state €102 million

It’s easy to underestimate asthma if the only knowledge you have of it is childhood memories of puffing on an inhaler on sports days.

If that’s the case for you, it may be shocking to learn that in Ireland one in six people die every six days as a result of their asthma.

It is believed that 60% of Irish asthma patients do not have their condition under control, which is not only a personal health risk, it also burdens our healthcare system.

The findings of new research published by the Asthma Society of Ireland, breaks the reality of asthma’s impact on Ireland into figures that will shock you.

Results from the Easing the Economic Burden of Asthma research:


  • 890,000 people in Ireland experience asthma at some stage of their life.
  • €472 million: the amount asthma costs the state per annum.
  • €1,242: The annual average cost of asthma per person.
  • 4 million: the number of asthma GP consultations annually.
  • 625,000: the number of asthma Practise Nurse consultations annually.
  • 8,000: The number of asthma admissions to hospital every year.
  • Four minutes: How often someone in Ireland visits an Emergency Department with asthma.
  • 1 in 13 people in Ireland currently have asthma.
  • 1 in 10 children currently have asthma.
  • 1 in 5 children experience asthma at some stage in their life.
  • Compared to 14 other European countries: Ireland had the highest death rate from asthma in 2015.
  • Seven: The average number of work days missed every year due to asthma.
  • Five: The average number of school days missed every year due to asthma.
  • Ireland had the second highest rate of asthma hospital discharges in Western Europe in 2016.
  • 40,593: The number of children registered under the Asthma Cycle of Care programme.
  • 68days: Average length of stay with an asthma hospital admission.


Easing the Economic Burden of Asthma – The Impact of a Universal Asthma Self-Management Programme is the first prevalence and impact assessment of asthma since 2001 and confirms that the national economic burden of this chronic disease is €472 million per year.

Before now, estimates into the large-scale impact of asthma on the Irish healthcare system under-estimated the number of people with asthma in Ireland.

“The reality of asthma for our health system and our patients is made crystal clear from this research,” CEO of the Asthma Society of Ireland, Sarah O’Connor says.

“It tells us that we are getting asthma management wrong – structurally, it revolves solely around the asthma patient in crisis and fails in long-term control,” she says.

“We can see Emergency Department visits and hospital admissions. We can see that, in comparison to other countries in Western Europe, Ireland has the poorest mortality outcome from asthma and one of the highest asthma hospitalisation rates.”

The research was supported by a grant from GSK Ireland.

Patients who want help and support to manage their asthma can contact the Asthma Society of Ireland’s free Asthma/COPD adviceline on 1800 44 54 64, where a nurse will assist them.