Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) refers to a group of lung diseases that are characterized by severe cough and breathing difficulty. These diseases are very serious and are the third most fatal health concern in the United States. According to estimates, about 30 million Americans have COPD, with 50% of individuals unaware of it.
Because COPD has similar symptoms as asthma, people often mistake one for the other. To prevent this, here are some similarities and differences to help you differentiate them:
Similarities between COPD and Asthma
- Both conditions include shortness of breath, tightness in the chest, coughing and wheezing.
- They both cause a bluish discoloration on the skin, as well as respiratory distress. If left unaddressed, both may lead to death.
- Asthma and COPD may lead to anxiety and elevated heart rates.
Differences between COPD and Asthma
- While asthmatic reactions may be managed and are reversible, COPD is progressive and the symptoms worsen over time.
- COPD mostly affects adults over the age of 40 years; asthma affects people of all ages.
- COPD is caused by continued exposure to irritants that damage the cells in the lung e.g., cigarette smoke (even second-hand smoke) and toxic chemical fumes. Asthma is caused by an inflammatory reaction to allergens.
If you notice any of the symptoms above, visit a doctor as quickly as possible. If you live in Texas, then you are in luck. Internal Medicine Diagnostic Center in Magnolia provides primary care for patients of COPD and Asthma. Call 281-252-8600 immediately to set up an appointment.