jtemplate.ru - free templates joomla

The Difference Between Asthma and COPD

Asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) have similar symptoms — chronic coughing, wheezing and shortness of breath — but they are not the same disease. Early detection of COPD can help preserve a patient’s lung function, yet nearly half of the 24 million Americans suffering from COPD don’t know they have it, and 40% of people have both COPD and asthma. So understanding the difference between asthma and COPD is important.

One difference is the cause of each illness. Experts still haven’t pinned down why some people get asthma and others don’t — though it’s possibly a combination of environment and genetics. As for COPD, one known cause is smoking. The Mayo Clinic reports that 20%-30% of regular smokers develop COPD, because smoking irritates the lungs, causing the bronchial tubes and air sacs to over-expand and lose elasticity. Asthma and COPD have different triggers, as well. Allergens, cold air and exercise can exacerbate asthma, while COPD can be made worse by respiratory tract infections such as the the flu and pneumonia, as well as exposure to pollutants.

While asthma and COPD are both long-term conditions with no known cure, their outlooks are different. Asthma is easier to control on a daily basis and, in some cases of childhood asthma, the disease goes away as the person gets older. COPD, however, worsens over time.

Sufferers of both can reduce their symptoms by sticking to their prescribed treatment plans.

Read the full story for more on the comparison between COPD and asthma.