COPD and Asthma? What's the difference. How do I know I have COPD or Asthma? In this blog post we will compare and contrast COPD and Asthma so you have a better understanding of which is which.
COPD is a chronic lung ailment due to which the patient will feel difficulty to breathe since the lung airflow is affected. The symptoms of COPD are shortness of breath, coughing and clearing throat. COPD is irreversible and the causes of COPD are smoking and continued exposure to dust, harmful gases, chemicals and other air pollutants.
Asthma is a respiratory condition marked by spasms of bronchi. Due to the inflammation the airways in the lungs become narrow. Asthma leads to breathing difficulty as a result of an allergic reaction. Asthma will cause shortness of breath, wheezing and chest tightness. Asthma can be reversed by taking medical treatment and the patient can be back to normal breathing. Various substances can trigger asthma attacks.
Similar signs and symptoms
When we consider COPD Vs Asthma it is to be noted that there are a few common signs and symptoms – cough, shortness of breath, chest tightness, anxiety, wheezing and intolerance.
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Different signs and symptoms
In case of COPD, the breathing never returns to normal whereas in case of asthma the breathing returns to normal between attacks. COPD symptoms become more severe gradually whereas in the case of asthma the symptoms may or may not become severe. When compared to asthma, COPD will produce more mucus and phlegm. COPD will cause chronic cough and chronic blueness of lips and fingernail beds. This will not happen in the case of asthma. A person of any age can be affected by asthma whereas COPD normally occurs in those who are above 40 years.
Causes: COPD Vs Asthma
COPD is caused either by cigarette smoking or lung irritants including toxic fumes, chemicals and dust that cause damage of lung cells. Both cigarette smoke and tobacco-smoke cause COPD. Inherited genetic factors such as alpha- 1 antitrypsin deficiency also cause COPD.
The main cause of asthma is the immune reactions to asthma triggers that take place in the airways causing inflammation. Asthma gets triggered by cigarette smoking also. However, asthma triggers differ from patient to patient. The most common asthma triggers are airborne substances such as pollen, mites, dust, mold, pet dander and various other substances.
Treatment: COPD Vs Asthma
The use of combined bronchodialators is the most widely accepted treatment for COPD. COPD patients can take vaccinations to reduce the risk of respiratory-track infections. Those who smoke are asked to get rid of the habit completely. Oxygen therapy can improve the survival of COPD patients.
In the case of asthma, the doctor will discuss with the patient and will recommend the best treatment and the most suitable drugs. Medications include corticosteroids and short acting beta agonists. When exacerbations become severe, anticholinergic medications will be provided. In case the patient is desensitized to certain asthma triggers allergy shots will be prescribed by the doctor.
Emergency treatment for both COPD and Asthma involves intravenous corticosteroids, incubation, mechanical ventilation and oxygen treatment.
Prognosis and life expectancy: COPD Vs Asthma
In case of COPD prognosis will be from fair to poor and depends on how fast the disease advances over time. Generally, lifespan of COPD patients decreases. Prognosis for asthma is from fair to excellent. It depends on how well the patient identifies his/her triggers and his/her response to the medication.
According to WHO estimates, 65 million people have moderate to severe chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). More than 3 million people died of COPD in 2005, which corresponds to 5% of all deaths globally.
Severe COPD can get to a point where your lungs may stop functioning and you may need a lung transplant.
Did you know that lung transplants have the lowest survival rate among all transplants? Only about 50% of people live 5 years after having a lung transplant and patients have to take up to 50 pills a day!
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