Respiratory diseases are as common as other diseases. These diseases are increasing with the increase in pollution and due to the low immunity of our new generations. Many other factors also influence them. Asthma and COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) is obstructive pulmonary diseases that affect millions of people all over the world. These two illnesses have many similarities and many differences. That’s why health specialists sometimes confuse the diagnosis and treatment of these diseases which affect more and more people every year worldwide.
You can consult your pulmonologist for the detailed check-up and suggestions. You can find the best pulmonologist in Lahore through Marham.
Because asthma and COPD have several similarities, it can be difficult to differentiate between them. But, after considering your symptoms, medical history, physical check-ups, and results of medical tests, your doctor can determine the real cause of your illness.
Here are some major differences between Asthma and COPD;
Asthma vs COPD:
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, commonly known as COPD, is a group of progressive lung diseases. The most common are emphysema and chronic bronchitis. Many people with COPD have both conditions. In this condition, your lungs’ air sacs destroy, and inflammation of bronchioles occurs. Whereas Asthma is the inflammatory disease of the airways that cause difficulty in breathing.
They can be distinguished based on;
- Different type of airway inflammation
- Different inflammatory cells
- Different mediators
- Different outcomes of inflammation
- Different response to therapy
- Different course
Asthma is diagnosed at an early age usually before 20 years. Whereas COPD shows its symptoms after the age of 40. This helps in diagnosing these diseases.
In asthma, the actual cause is still unknown. But genetic factors and environmental factors like allergens etc. can be the cause behind triggering asthma. But in the case of COPD, smoking is the leading cause of this disease.
Both asthma and COPD may cause shortness of breath and cough. A constant morning cough that produces sputum is a characteristic of chronic bronchitis, a type of COPD. And episodes of wheezing, coughing, and chest tightness (especially at night) are more common with asthma.
Asthma is a manageable disease if given proper treatment. The important steps in treatment include identifying your asthma triggers and trying your best to avoid them. Common treatments for asthma include:
- Bronchodilators (dilates the bronchioles) such as short-acting beta-agonists, ipratropium (Atrovent), and oral and intravenous corticosteroids.
- Anti-allergy medicines such as allergy shots (immunotherapy) and omalizumab.
- long-term asthma control medications such as inhaled corticosteroids, leukotriene modifiers, long-acting beta-agonists, combination inhalers and theophylline
- bronchial thermoplasty (uses thermal energy to reduce the amount of smooth muscle associated with airway constriction in asthma patients)
COPD is a progressive disease, so the main aim of its treatment is to reduce the worsening of this disease and facilitating the patient to live a normal life by minimizing the symptoms. Quitting smoking and avoiding smoke is very important to control COPD.
Other common treatments for COPD include:
- medications such as bronchodilators, inhaled steroids, combination inhalers, oral steroids, phosphodiesterase-4 inhibitors, theophylline, and antibiotics
- Education and counseling to increase the quality of your life.
- Lung therapy including oxygen therapy.
- surgeries such as lung volume reduction surgery (removing areas of affected lung tissue to increase space in the chest cavity for the remaining healthy lung tissue), lung transplant (replacing damaged lungs with healthy, donated lungs), or bullectomy (removal of abnormally large air spaces from the lungs to help improve breathing).
These are the main differences between asthma and COPD. Their exact diagnosis is very important to combat the disease.
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