Disillusioned by new Asthma Risk Test

I came to asthma.org.uk site after seeing the publicity for the ""Triple A Test"".

I have to say, I feel used. This doesn't feel like a test to help site visitors discover their risk of an asthma attack... it feels like a test to collect behavioural stats for purposes the site owners haven't shared with us.

Look at the questions:

- Do I live in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland or Wales

Does that increase my risk of an asthma attack?

- Do you think you are at risk from an asthma attack?

I thought that's what the test was supposed to be telling me!

- ""I take 3 or more different asthma medicines...""

(Footnote: ""Taking 3 or more types of asthma medicine can mean that you are at an increased risk of having an asthma attack."")

Well, there's a surprise!

- ""I have attended A&E or been admitted overnight to hospital for my asthma in the past 6 months""

(Footnote: ""Research suggests this puts you at an increased risk of an asthma attack in the future."")

So people who've had an asthma attack are at risk of another one? I'd never have guessed that!

I won't bore the discussion with the rest of the questions, but it's clear to me that this is a behavioural study, which is just dressed-up as a risk assessment to help people understand, manage and even take steps to lower risks.

There's nothing wrong with behavioural studies, but I think there is something morally wrong with mis-selling the survey. Why don't the site owners just publicise it for what it is? Because they think fewer people will be interested to take part?

I see the last new discussion was users lamenting that this site isn't the support venue it used to be. Well I have some sympathy... I'm a new user, and already alienated. I'm interested to hear what others think.

4 Replies

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  • AUK is a wonderful charity which does a lot of research into asthma and provides information and support to sufferers. The asthma nurses are great as anyone who has rung them knows. I have also used this forum for 2 years and found it a great source of information and support.

    Having said all that, I have to agree that the Triple A Test is disappointing, not to say a bit odd. If someone takes asthma meds and has been in hospital with asthma, it is obvious that they are at risk of an asthma attack - so I dont quite know what the point of the Test is. My husband and friend have both done the test and also thought it was odd (actually, my husband thought it was laughable).

    I am sorry tsuchan is so disappointed but I can understand his/her irritation. However, the forum remains a very useful source of support, there are masses of posts on a huge range of issues - they can be accessed by typing in keywords into the Search Keywords box on the left hand side of the page.

  • Hi tsuchan, welcome to the site!

    Allow me to just address some of the points you've raised there.

    ""Do I live in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland or Wales

    Does that increase my risk of an asthma attack?""

    Surprisingly, yes. There is good data that shows considerable regional variation in terms of both hospital admissions with asthma and asthma deaths. This has been theorised to be due to a number of potential factors; deprivation indexes (poor engagement in care, poor education regarding the disease, low expectations of control etc), variations in care, etc.

    ""Do you think you are at risk from an asthma attack?

    I thought that's what the test was supposed to be telling me!""

    There is quite a large amount of complacency about asthma and the sufferer's perceived risk of an attack. Those who don't think they are at risk of an attack are probably, perversely, more at risk - as they may not fully understand the nature of their condition.

    """"I take 3 or more different asthma medicines...""

    (Footnote: ""Taking 3 or more types of asthma medicine can mean that you are at an increased risk of having an asthma attack."")

    Well, there's a surprise!""

    In some respects, yes, you are right - if you need more medication to control your asthma, then it may indicate that your asthma is more severe, placing you at higher risk of an attack. However, A significant proportion of asthma deaths occur in people on far fewer medications, due to lack of good asthma control which places them at high risk of a sudden and/or life-threatening attack.

    ""I have attended A&E or been admitted overnight to hospital for my asthma in the past 6 months""

    (Footnote: ""Research suggests this puts you at an increased risk of an asthma attack in the future."")

    So people who've had an asthma attack are at risk of another one? I'd never have guessed that!

    Again, you are quite right that it should perhaps be obvious that one attack places you at risk of another. However, it is also true that, just because you've never (or not recently) had an attack, doesn't mean that you're not at risk of one in the future.

    Hope that sheds a little bit of light.

    CathBear.

  • I also have to say i wasn't that impressed by the test.

    It says i'm at increased risk of an asthma attack but I only answered ""yes"" to 2 questions that would be trigger questions - do you get hayfever and do you sometimes forget to take your preventer when you're well.

    I feel i'm well in control of my asthma and although yes i do SOMETIMES forget to take my preventer it's only maybe a morning dose or an evening, very rarely would i go more than a day without any preventer. Also my hayfever is very mild but i do take antihistamines (OTC) for it.

    I just feel that the results might quite scare some people, especially if they're not quite au fait with their condition and they may be looking for reassurance

  • Just throwing in my tuppence worth.. Asthma Risk Test. So yes, perhaps it is a behavioural study but there's loads of folk out there not just on AUK, with mild asthma thinking I'm alright Jack. If you have the kind of asthma that has you on good terms with A&E, walk in centre or out of hours doctor, then ok won't tell you anything you don't know already.

    IF on the other hand the asthma is mild, you don't think you need to take meds all the time and have never up until now really thought about it, then this test is for you. And your relatives if they're looking over your shoulder as you gaily say 'Its ok I'm not at risk. Oh!'

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