What Can I Do To Prevent Infections Especially If I Have Copd
Frequently wash your hands with soap and warm water, especially before preparing food, eating, taking medications or breathing treatments and after coughing or sneezing, using the bathroom, touching soiled linens or clothes, and after you’ve been around someone with a cold or the flu as well as after you’ve been at a social gathering. It is also good to carry waterless hand sanitizers with you to use when necessary.
If visitors have cold or flu symptoms, ask them not to visit until they are feeling well.
- Keep your house clean and free from excess dust. Keep your bathrooms and sinks free from mold or mildew.
- Do not work in or visit any form of construction site. Dust can be harmful. If you absolutely must go near this type of area, wear a mask provided by your doctor.
- Avoid air pollution, including tobacco smoke, wood or oil smoke, car exhaust fumes and industrial pollution which can cause inhaled irritants to enter your lungs. Also avoid pollen.
- Make sure your cooking vent is working properly so cooking fumes can be drawn out of the house.
- If possible, try to stay away from large crowds in the fall and winter when the flu season is at its peak.
- Keep breathing equipment clean.
- Do not let others use your medical equipment, including: oxygen cannula, metered dose inhaler , MDI spacer, nebulizer tubing and mouthpiece.
Other general health guidelines
Your Gp Or Asthma Nurse Can Help Your Asthma Symptoms
Theres a lot your GP or asthma nurse can do to help stop symptoms building up to an asthma attack. Book an appointment now to get the support you need to lower your risk.
Your GP/asthma nurse can:
- Talk to you about why your asthma symptoms have got worse
- Check youre taking your preventer medicine every day. If you havent been taking it regularly, they can suggest ways to get into a good routine with it so its easier to remember.
- Look at your inhaler technique to make sure youre getting the medicine you need
- Suggest a higher dose, or more puffs, of your preventer inhaler for a while
Causes And Triggers Of Asthma
Asthma is caused by swelling of the breathing tubes that carry air in and out of the lungs. This makes the tubes highly sensitive, so they temporarily narrow.
It may happen randomly or after exposure to a trigger.
Common asthma triggers include:
However, the frequency and predominating symptoms in asthma and COPD are different. With COPD, you are more likely to experience a morning cough, increased amounts of sputum, and persistent symptoms. If you have asthma, you are more likely to experience episodic symptoms during and/or at night.
Another difference between asthma and COPD is the intermittent symptoms seen with asthma versus the chronic, progressive symptoms seen in COPD. Asthma symptoms are likely to occur after exposure to specific triggers, whereas COPD symptoms occur more regularly.
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Airflow Limitation In Copd
The chronic airflow limitation of COPD is caused by a mixture of small airway disease and parenchymal destruction , the relative contributions of which vary from person to person . Chronic inflammation causes structural changes and narrowing of small airways. Destruction of the lung parenchyma, also by inflammatory processes, leads to the loss of alveolar attachments to the small airways and decreases lung elastic recoil in turn these changes diminish the ability of the airways to remain open during expiration .
So in COPD inflammation causes small airway disease and parenchymal destruction that all lead to airflow limitation .
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Is It Asthma Copd Or Both
Both asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease , including emphysema and chronic bronchitis, make breathing difficult. In fact, they share many similarities. However, they are different lung diseases. Asthma-COPD overlap syndrome is diagnosed when you have symptoms of both asthma and COPD. ACOS is not a separate disease, but rather a way for doctors to recognize the mix of symptoms and select a treatment plan that is most appropriate for you.
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How Are Asthma And Copd Diagnosed
COPD and asthma can have a lot of overlap when it comes to making a diagnosis, says Dr. Ogden. A specialist will make the diagnosis based on your clinical history, including symptoms and pulmonary function testing.
Breathing tests to see how well your lungs function include:
- A spirometry test: Youll take a deep breath in . Then youll blow all that air into the tubing attached to a small machine called a spirometer as forcefully as you can. This measures how much air you blow out and how fast you can do so, according to the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute. Youll also perform a range of other inhalation and exhalation techniques so your doctor can assess your lung function.
- Peak expiratory flow test: While spirometry tests can tell you a range of different things about your lung function, this test only measures how fast you can blow out air using maximum effort. It can be done during spirometry or by breathing into a separate device, called a peak flow meter. This is a small, plastic hand-held device that you can use at home or on the go to help you determine if you are having an asthma attack.
- Fractional exhaled nitric oxide test: This one might sound like a science experiment gone wrong, but it simply measures how much inflammation you have in your lungs.
Take Action Now To Lower Your Risk Of An Asthma Attack
If youre getting more asthma symptoms its a sign that your airways are getting more inflamed and narrow. This makes it harder for air to get through and means an asthma attack is more likely.
The sooner you can treat the inflammation in your airways, the sooner you can lower your risk of an asthma attack.
See your doctor today
- Ask the receptionist for an urgent same day appointment. Tell them your asthmas getting worse and you need to see a GP or asthma nurse for urgent advice to avoid having an asthma attack.
- If you cant get an urgent same day appointment, or your GP surgery is closed, . They may be able to arrange for you to be seen at a walk-in centre or by an out of hours doctor.
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Asthma And Copd Overlap
In some cases, you might have asthma and COPD at the same time. This is referred to as Asthma-COPD overlap. This is not a disease on its own, but it is acknowledging that you have a mix of both asthma and COPD symptoms. It is not entirely clear about what causes ACOS.
However, it is critical that you seek treatment from our ER near you since ACOS is more severe than when you had one condition.
Monitoring Managing And Treating Asthma And Copd
Once the conditions are diagnosed, the medications used to manage asthma and COPD are similar and usually involve an inhaler of some sort. However, other types of treatment and therapies for each disease tend to differ. This section will explore the different approaches used to monitor and manage asthma and COPD in everyday life.
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How Can I Manage Copd At Home
You can take several steps to make breathing easier and slow the progression of the disease:
- Quit smoking.
- Avoid air polluted by chemicals, smoke, dust or fumes.
- Take prescribed medications as directed by your provider.
- Ask your doctor about a pulmonary rehabilitation program, which teaches you how to be active with less shortness of breath.
- Maintain a healthy weight.
- Get an annual flu shot.
The good news about COPD is that the symptoms can be managed. Youll breathe easier if you take the necessary steps to support your lung capacity and fight lung irritation. By getting treatment early, youll have the best shot at continuing to do the things you love.
Are There Conditions That Occur With Asthma And Copd
If you have asthma or COPD, you may also be at risk for other conditions. For example, 8 in 10 people with COPD are believed to have at least one co-existing condition, according to a 2021 study in Scientific Reports3. They include:
- Heart failure
- Psychiatric disorders
Researchers hope that further understanding the connection between these conditions and how they play into asthma and COPD can help doctors adjust treatments to be more effective.
The bottom line: Asthma and COPD have some similarities but are very different conditions with very different treatment options. Neither has a cure, so its crucial to seek help when the side effects of either disease start to take over your daily life. You shouldnt have to struggle to breathe . There are treatments options available and resources to help you quit smoking. Dont hesitate to reach out to your doctortheyll help you breathe a little easier.
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Asthma Copd Tied To Worse Covid
Patients with active asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease are at increased risk for severe COVID-19 outcomes, according to a study published online Aug. 10 in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology: In Practice.
Brian Z. Huang, Ph.D., from Kaiser Permanente Southern California in Pasadena, and colleagues assessed asthma disease status and COPD in relation to COVID-19 severity. The analysis included electronic medical records data from 61,338 patients diagnosed with COVID-19 in a large, diverse integrated health care system.
The researchers found that patients with active asthma had increased odds of hospitalization, intensive respiratory support, and intensive care unit admission versus patients without asthma or COPD. Among patients with inactive asthma, no increased risks were seen. COPD was associated with increased risks for hospitalization , intensive respiratory support , and mortality . Use of asthma medications among active asthma patients was associated with more than 25 percent lower odds for COVID-19 outcomes versus patients without medication.
“These findings suggest that asthma patients, especially those who require clinical care, should continue taking control medications during the COVID-19 pandemic,” the authors write.
What Is Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease
It is yet another respiratory condition characterized by chronic interference with the lung airflow that impairs breathing. The respiratory disease is not fully reversible as seen in asthma.
Examples of COPD symptoms are shortness of breath, recurrent coughing that yields mucus, clearing throat, and progressive exercise tolerance.
The main cause of COPD is smoking. It is further divided into chronic bronchitis and emphysema. The recurrent symptoms are progressively worsening with time.
Other people susceptible to COPD are former smokers, passive smokers, and those suffering from asthma. Exposure to air pollution, dust, and chemical fumes might also cause COPD.
There is no cure for COPD. But patients are given treatment in form of oxygen therapy, medicine, lung transplant and advised to cease smoking.
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Questions That Will Help Your Doctor Determine If You Have Copd Or Asthma
Answers to the following questions will aid in a proper diagnosis of your condition.
Did I have symptoms of allergy or asthma as a child?
While some patients are diagnosed with asthma in adulthood, most asthmatics are diagnosed in childhood or adolescence. In fact, a number of studies have shown that primary care doctors will often label older patients with asthma when in fact they have COPD. While COPD can be a llong-termcomplication of poorly controlled asthma, COPD is rarely diagnosed before the age of 40.
What makes my symptoms worse?
Asthmatics can often identify what it is that worsens their symptoms. Things such as:
COPD, on the other hand, is often made worse by respiratory tract infections and not any of the asthma triggers mentioned above.
Am I a current or past smoker?
While COPD and asthma may occur together, COPD is more common in current or former smokers and those exposed to environmental tobacco smoke. While COPD can occur in patients that have never smoked, greater than 80% of patients with COPD smoked in the past or are current smokers.
Am I ever symptom-free?
Patients with asthma experience symptoms intermittently, are relatively symptom-free between asthma exacerbations and tend to experience significant periods of time without symptoms when their asthma is under good control. COPD patients, on the other hand, experience progressive symptoms and rarely go a day without symptoms.
Does my lung function return to normal between exacerbations?
Inflammatory Cells In Asthmatic Airways
Mast cells -activated mucosal mast cells release bronchoconstrictor mediatorshistamine, cysteinyl leukotriens, prostaglandin D2. They are activated by allergens through IgE receptors or by osmotic stimuli . Eosinophils are in increased number in airways, release basic proteins that may damage epithelial cells, and have a role in releasing a growth factors and airway remodeling , T lymphocytes are in increased number and release specific cytokines, including IL-4, IL-5, IL-9, IL-13 that orchestrate eosinophilic inflammation and IgE production by B lymphocytes . There may also be an increase in inKT cells which release large amounts of T helper: Th1 and Th2 cytokines . Dendritic cells,Macrophages are in increased number, and release inflammatory mediators and cytokines that amplify the inflammatory response . Nutrophils are in increased number in airways and sputum of patients with severe asthma and in smoking asthmatics, but the role of these cells is uncertain and their increase may even be due to steroid therapy .
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Similarities And Differences Between Asthma Copd And Bronchiectasis
Diseases of the airways of the lungs are common and can include asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and bronchiectasis. These diseases affect the airways of the lungs that carry oxygen and other gases into and out of the lungs. They usually cause a narrowing or blockage of the airways. Although these diseases present some common characteristics and symptoms1, they have different clinical outcomes.
Treatment goals vary for each disease state. COPD therapy is directed primarily to the relief of symptoms and the prevention of disease progression. In asthma, the primary goal of treatment is to control the underlying inflammatory process with the consequent control of symptoms. In bronchiectasis, the primary goal of treatment is to prevent disease progression and improve the quality of life and symptoms.
The differentiation between asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and bronchiectasis in the early stage of disease is extremely important for the adaptation of appropriate treatment and management options of symptoms.
Chart source: Airway disease: similarities and differences between asthma, COPD and bronchiectasis1
Is Chronic Asthma The Same As Copd
Chronic asthma and COPD can have similar symptoms, but they are considered distinct conditions. COPD refers specifically to chronic bronchitis, emphysema or both.
Other differences include the fact that asthma tends to start during childhood, while COPD is more likely to appear among adults who smoke.
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Exacerbation/infection: Changes In Inflammatory Features And Cytokine Profiles
Exacerbations of asthma and COPD are clinically significant events. They are frequently triggered by viral infections of the airways and are associated with a decline in lung function and symptomatic aggravation. During exacerbation, airway inflammation becomes more exaggerated than in the mild and stable disease states, and the inflammation pattern changes. Neutrophil recruitment is a prominent feature of acute exacerbation of chronic asthma, probably owing to respiratory tract infection by viruses., Furthermore, neutrophilic inflammation in the absence of eosinophils is largely present in sudden-onset fatal asthma, and neutrophil numbers are highly elevated in status asthmaticus., Thus, severe and fatal asthma may be mediated by neutrophils, which is quite different from the classical Th2-driven eosinophilic form of the disease. In COPD patients, an allergic profile of inflammation can occur, particularly during exacerbation. Airway eosinophilia is observed in chronic bronchitic patients with exacerbation and is associated with the upregulation of RANTES in the airway epithelium., Recently, Siva et al. demonstrated that the minimization of eosinophilic airway inflammation was associated with a reduction in severe COPD exacerbation. Taken together, these studies indicate that the inflammatory characteristics of asthma and COPD are interchangeable during exacerbation and infection.
Is It Asthma Or Chronic Bronchitis
Chronic bronchitis is an ongoing condition characterized by a cough that occurs on most days of the month, at least three months out of the year, and lasts for at least two years. It is considered a diagnosis of exclusion meaning that your healthcare provider needs to make sure that your coughing symptoms are not being caused by another condition like asthma. Symptoms are caused by inflammation and irritation of the airways in the lung.
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Why Is It Important
There are several reasons why the overlap syndrome is important. First, patients with overlapping asthma and COPD are excluded from clinical trials of treatment. This means that for an increasing proportion of older patients with obstructive lung disease, the data on efficacy of treatment may not be relevant. The clearest example of this comes from the studies on the efficacy of inhaled corticosteroids in asthma. These studies typically exclude smokers with asthma because of the difficulty in separating asthma from COPD in smokers with obstructive lung disease. However, up to 30% of people with asthma are smokers, and this means a substantial proportion of the population are excluded from randomised controlled trials. Extrapolation of the efficacy results for corticosteroids in non-smokers to smokers with asthma is flawed. Smokers with asthma have a relative corticosteroid resistance such that corticosteroids are much less efficacious in smokers with asthma than in non-smokers with asthma. This emphasises the need to study drug efficacy in relevant clinical populations, and the necessity to include overlap syndrome in drug evaluation programmes.