Asthma or COPD?
There are several conditions that can cause obstructed airways. The two most common long-term conditions are asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Because both asthma and COPD cause similar symptoms, they are often confused. This is a problem, though, because the root cause—and thus the treatment options—are different. It’s important for someone with pulmonary obstruction to understand which condition he or she has so that an effective treatment plan can be put into place.
Symptom Similarities and Differences
There are primarily three chronic symptoms shared by asthmatics and COPD sufferers:
- Shortness of breath
Each of these symptoms will occur often, though their frequency may be a hint as to which condition is to blame. Asthmatics tend to have episodes of wheezing brought on by physical activity, weather changes, allergies, sickness, or other factors. People with COPD may find themselves wheezing continually or without a clear trigger. Coughing bouts, too, usually occur intermittently for asthmatics; people with COPD tend to have a chronic cough that produces more phlegm. Additionally, shortness of breath may be more common in people with COPD.
While asthma is likely caused by environmental and genetic factors, COPD is a preventable disease. Most people with COPD are current or former smokers. This habit has caused damage to their lungs and airways, which results in inflammation and obstruction. The most obvious way to prevent the disease, then, is to avoid or quit smoking. Even for smokers, however, early diagnosis is essential to fight the disease successfully.
Asthma, on the other hand, has no clear cause, so it can’t be avoided. However, the symptoms of asthma can be reversed more effectively than COPD since the condition is not self-inflicted. Most people are diagnosed with asthma early, too, giving them more time to develop an effective treatment plan.
A Treatment Plan for You
Asthma and Allergy Associates in Colorado Springs specializes in treating asthma and COPD patients. We will help you determine the root cause of your wheezing and coughing using the latest in diagnostic technology. Please contact us right away to get an accurate diagnosis and an individualized treatment plan that works for you. Don’t wait to deal with these disruptive and dangerous diseases.