Difference between COPD and Asthma: What is the difference between COPD and asthma? A lot of people are often confused between these two respiratory conditions.
They have quite a few striking similarities but they are two distinct and separate conditions.
How are they the same?
COPD (or Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) and asthma both refer to the condition of being unable to effectively incorporate enough air into the lungs.
They are alike in various symptoms. These symptoms include wheezing, chest tightness, shortness of breath, and coughing.
Another similarity is that most of the time, COPD and asthma are treated with the same medications.
What is COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease)
COPD is the condition diagnosed to patients who are suffering from emphysema, chronic bronchitis, or both. These illnesses are often developed by age due to some underlying factors.
COPD is usually diagnosed on patients aged 40 and above.
A COPD induced by chronic bronchitis results in a patient’s difficulty in breathing. The airways have become swollen and are filled with mucus with this type of COPD.
On the other hand, COPD induced by emphysema results in hyperinflation.
The air sacs in the lungs are damaged so the lungs are not able to return to their normal shape after expelling air. Hyperinflation is the expansion of swollen lungs.
As opposed to asthma, environmental triggers are not necessary for COPD to occur. But once diagnosed, COPD symptoms can get worst when exposed to such triggers.
What is Asthma
Meanwhile, asthma is a long-term lung disease and is a condition on its own.
With asthma, on the contrary, it is a different story. The difference between COPD and asthma is that asthma is typically triggered by certain environmental inhalants.
When triggered, the airways get inflamed and they grow narrow. Once they narrow even more, the cells along the airways produce more mucus. In consequence, the symptoms then occur.
Among the common environmental substances that can trigger an asthma attack are dust, pet dander, and cigarette smoke.
Meanwhile, asthma patients are often younger. Asthma symptoms are observed to most likely start during childhood, particularly at the age of 5.
But regardless, asthma can affect people of all ages.
Difference between COPD and Asthma
There is also a notable difference between COPD and asthma as to the risk factors that may have caused them.
COPD is common among those who are prone to cigarette smoking, secondhand smoking, and tolerance on other inhaled toxins.
COPD can be brought about by genetics as well. Meanwhile, asthma is most often than not caused by allergic or non-allergic reactions, particularly environmental substances.
Genetics is a risk factor as well. Experts observed that such condition often runs in the family.