There are many things to take into consideration when diagnosing and treating asthma and COPD. They have many characteristics that can confuse one for the other and lead to the misdiagnosis and treatments that are associated with each respiratory disease. If one has never been faced with the reality of living with either of these diseases knowing what to look for is something that is not easy. While asthma and COPD are both similar respiratory defects, COPD is often misdiagnosed asthma and goes untreated.
Asthma is a chronic inflammatory of the airways. The inflammation of the airways is usually associated with constant wheezing, coughing, and tightness in the chest and usually occurs late at night or early in the mornings. These symptoms are usually associated with airflow obstruction within the lungs that is usually relieved with the use of inhalers or subsequently on its own. Some of the things that cause these attacks are air pollutants, colds, indoor and outdoor pollutants, and smoke. There are many things that factor into what may really be the causes asthma. People who have allergies, smokers, people who are obese, stress, genes, and environmental air pollutants are usually the main causes of asthma. There are many treatments for asthma, steroid inhalants and breathing treatments are among the most common treatments for asthma. There are some medications that act fast, and some are taken on a day-to-day basis to help in the aid of reducing the risk of having an attack. Fast acting treatments are used to treat a person when an attack occurs and something is need right then to relieve the attack at a spur of the moment notice. Asthma is generally found in younger people and young children.
COPD also known as Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease is something that is very similar to asthma but very different. COPD is a lung disease that makes it hard to breath even with treatment and is usually the combination of two diseases in one. COPD is caused from long term damage that has been done to the lungs and is irreversible, but steps can be taken to prevent more damage and make a person feel better. With COPD less air is able to flow into the lungs making it hard for one to breath. The air sac that are supposed to inflate loose the elasticity so they are unable to expand as air is breathed in. Some of the symptoms that are associated with COPD are a constant cough or a cough that produces an excessive amount of mucus sometimes this may be called a smokers cough, shortness of breath, especially with physical activity, wheezing this is when you hear a rattling or cracking sound when you breath, and chest tightness.
There are many treatments that are available to decrease the effects of the symptoms of COPD, although there is no cure available at this time. Some of the treatments that are available are inhalers, and breathing treatments. There are also a number of other things that need to be done in order to decrease the symptoms of COPD. These are stop smoking, get enough to eat (sometimes eating will even tire a person out with COPD, and when they become unable to eat and get the right amount of nutrients and calories it is harder for a person to stay healthy), and Bronchodilators, and inhaled steroids. If a person follows the treatments that a doctor has prescribed they will be able to help one breath easier and stay more active.
However, as one can see asthma and COPD are very similar in many ways. Treatments, symptoms, and some of the things that cause each of these respiratory defects. With the ways that they are similar it is sometimes hard to identify which respiratory defect it is when trying to diagnose them in older people. It is rare to find a younger person that has COPD so this is another reason that when a younger person goes to the doctor for these symptoms they usually are told they have asthma even though they may be at risk for COPD. Make sure that if you are at risk for COPD no matter what your age may be let your doctor know.
Although asthma and COPD have many of the same symptoms there are two very distinct differences that is the frequency of the symptoms and the reversibility of the airway obstructions. Asthma can be reversed during attacks by taking a breathing treatment or and emergency inhaler. COPD is something that can never be changed or cured, but a person with COPD can be made comfortable with the symptoms associated with COPD. A few of the other differences of the two are signs, management, and the prognosis of the diseases. The prognosis of the two are completely different asthma can be cured but COPD will never go away and sometimes becomes life threatening resulting in the death of the person with COPD. Which this a something that I have personal experience in. My own father had COPD and recently lost him due to the strain that the constant coughing caused on his heart and him not stop smoking.
While learning the differences and similarities of the two this shows how asthma and COPD can over lap and be misdiagnosed. Misdiagnosis of COPD and asthma can cause more harm than good. Knowing what one needs to look for when they are to have tests done makes the end prognosis and outcome for the patient mare comfortable. Making sure that the doctors know that one is in the risk factor area for COPD will help for doctors to properly diagnose and treat any under lying illness that may be there. While asthma and COPD are similar respiratory defects, COPD is often misdiagnosed for asthma and often goes untreated. Let’s see how many things that we can do to help reduce the chances of developing COPD. What kinds of changes is there in your life style that you can make to avoid the risks of developing COPD? Let’s see if and what we can help our world breath easier and live a longer healthier life. Life is too short already why make it even shorter