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Asthma is a common chronic inflammatory disease of the airways characterised by variable and recurring symptoms, reversible airflow obstruction and bronchospasm. Common symptoms include wheezing, coughing, chest tightness, and shortness of breath. Asthma is thought to be caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors. Asthma is both treated and prevented by prescribed inhalers. Treatment is to be taken if a person's symptoms are triggered as well as a form of prevention.

Asthma is also the most common long-term condition in children and young people and the most common reason for urgent admissions to hospital in children and young people in England.

Facts and figures

Prevalence of asthma

For further information regarding the source of the Quality and Outcomes Framework (QOF) prevalence data and its limitations please see the note on QOF Data.

In 2021/22, 13,076 people (aged 6 and over) in the Blackpool ICB sub-location (formerly NHS Blackpool CCG) were identified as living with asthma.1 This equates to 7.9%, which is significantly higher than England's average (6.5%). Blackpool's value for 2021/22 remains the same as for the 2020/21 figure.

Blackpool's sub-location is shown as a purple marker in figure 1, with all other sub-locations across England shown in blue.  Blackpool's asthma prevalence is the third highest in England.

Figure 1 - asthma prevalence funnel plot analysis at ICB sub-location level (2021/22 QOF)

Source: OHID - Inhale - INteractive Health Atlas of Lung conditions in England

Figure 2 shows all the 16 GP practices that make up Blackpool's sub-location (formerly NHS Blackpool CCG). There is a considerable range in recorded prevalence of asthma at GP practices from 6.8% to 9.5%.

Figure 2 - asthma prevalence funnel plot analysis at GP level (2021/22 QOF)Source: OHID - Inhale - INteractive Health Atlas of Lung conditions in England

The light blue practices in the funnel plot above have a significantly higher prevalence of asthma, compared to England. The three practices with similar prevalence of asthma (in yellow) are Newton Drive Health Centre, Waterloo Medical Centre and North Shore Surgery. 

Hospital admissions

In the period April 2020 to March 2021 there were 105 emergency admissions for asthma in adults (19-years-and-over) among Blackpool GP registered patients. This equates to 73.4 emergency admissions (per 100,000 registered population, directly standardised rate). This has reduced from 157.9 in 2019/20, but is still significantly higher than the rate for England (44.4). 

In 2020/21, 25 young people under the age of 19 were admitted to hospital for asthma, a rate of 71.5 (per 100,000 registered population, crude rate) statistically similar compared to the England average of 73.1 per 100,000. Blackpool's rate has been falling since its peak of 405.6 per 100,000 in 2016/17.2  

Admission rates in 2020/21 for both adults and young people were affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

National and local strategies

Risk factors

Although the cause of asthma is unknown, a number of things that can increase your chances of developing the condition have been identified. These include:

    • a family history of asthma or other related allergic conditions (known as atopic conditions) such as eczema, food allergy or hay fever
    • having another atopic condition
    • having bronchiolitis (a common childhood lung infection) as a child
    • childhood exposure to tobacco smoke, particularly if your mother also smoked during pregnancy
    • being born prematurely, especially if you needed a ventilator to support your breathing after birth
    • having a low birth weight as a result of restricted growth within the womb

[1] OHID, National General Practice Profiles

[2] OHID, Inhale - INteractive Health Atlas of Lung conditions in England

[3] NHS Choices, Asthma