Asthma And Copd: What’s The Difference And Is There A Link
With asthma, the swelling is often triggered by something youâre allergic to, like pollen or mold, or by physical activity. COPD is the name given to a group of lung diseases that include emphysema and chronic bronchitis.
Characteristics Of Asthma And Wheezing
Wheezing: Wheezing is caused by bronchial hypersensitivity.
Asthma: Asthma is marked by the chronic inflammatory response of the airways in addition to bronchial wall hypersensitivity.
Wheezing: Wheezing is a symptom.
Asthma: Asthma is a disease.
Wheezing: Wheezing can be diagnosed by listening to the chest via stethoscope.
Asthma: Asthma can be diagnosed by the clinical history and confirmed with Peak Expiratory Flow Meter.
Asthma: Asthma is caused by exposure to allergens of a vulnerable patient.
Wheezing: Wheezing can be caused by many other factors such as smoking, noxious gasses.
Wheezing: Just a single episode of wheezing need only symptomatic treatment.
Asthma: Asthma needs long-term treatment until the symptoms are well controlled.
Staging And Treatment Of Asthma
The goals of long-term management of asthma should include the following: 1) achievement and maintenance of control of symptoms 2) prevention of asthma exacerbations 3) maintenance of pulmonary function as close to normal levels as possible 4) maintenance of normal activity levels, including exercise 5) avoidance of adverse effects from asthma medications 6) prevention of the development of irreversible airflow limitation and 7) prevention of asthma mortality.
The recommended GINA treatment algorithm, together with the clinical features and staging of severity of asthma, are available on the GINA website . It is important to note that the forced expiratory volume in one second levels are before treatment, i.e. in the unmedicated state.
Until the advent of anti-inflammatory drugs, asthma was treated on an as-needed basis and treated as an acute disease rather than a chronic disease. With the recognition that asthma is a chronic inflammatory disease, there has been a gradual move towards treating it more aggressively and earlier in the hope that this may change the natural history of asthma and prevent some of the remodelling that sometimes occurs.
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Side Effects Of Steroid Tablets
Oral steroids carry a risk if they are taken for more than three months or if they are taken frequently . Side effects can include:
- easy bruising
- muscle weakness
With the exception of increased appetite, which is very commonly experienced by people taking oral steroids, most of these unwanted effects are uncommon.
However, it is a good idea to keep an eye out for them regularly, especially side effects that are not immediately obvious, such as high blood pressure, thinning of the bones, diabetes and glaucoma.
You will need regular appointments to check for these.
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What Is The Prognosis And Life Expectancy For A Person Copd Vs Asthma
The prognosis for COPD ranges from fair to poor and depends on how rapidly COPD advances over time. In general, individuals with COPD have a decrease in their lifespan according to research.
If you have asthma, the prognosis for most people ranges from fair to excellent, depending upon how well you can identify what triggers your attacks, and your response to medication.
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What Types Of Asthma Are There
Healthcare providers identify asthma as intermittent or persistent . Persistent asthma can be mild, moderate or severe. Healthcare providers base asthma severity on how often you have attacks. They also consider how well you can do things during an attack.
Asthma can be:
- Allergic: Some peoples allergies can cause an asthma attack. Molds, pollens and other allergens can cause an attack.
- Non-allergic: Outside factors can cause asthma to flare up. Exercise, stress, illness and weather may cause a flare.
Can You Have Asthma And Bronchiectasis
If you follow our blog, then you already know that a person can experience symptoms of both COPD and bronchiectasis. But can they have asthma and bronchiectasis at the same time, too?
The truth is, bronchiectasis can coexist with other chronic lung conditions, even asthma. Because it develops from repeated lung damage caused by frequent respiratory infections, a person whose asthma goes untreated may develop symptoms of bronchiectasis, as well.
The only way to know if you are living with this comorbid condition is to have a HRCT scan. Again, this is the only way to accurately detect a prevalence of bronchiectasis in your lungs.
Its also important to note that if you are diagnosed with bronchiectasis, you will need a different treatment plan, as your asthma symptoms may worsen if bronchiectasis is left untreated.
I constantly was in the hospital with lung infections. Now I still do the two treatments daily as ordered by my doctor and havent been in the hospital in 7 years!-Diane, SmartVest user for bronchiectasis and asthma
I have bronchiectasis and severe persistent asthma. My SmartVest is one of the best tools that I have to get mucus out. When all my inhalers and nebulizer treatments dont work, my SmartVest always manages to get things moved around enough that I can get it out or finally breathe for a while.-Pam, SmartVest user for bronchiectasis and asthma
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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.
Whats An Asthma Attack
When you breathe normally, muscles around your airways are relaxed, letting air move easily. During an asthma attack, three things can happen:
- Bronchospasm: The muscles around the airways constrict . When they tighten, it makes the airways narrow. Air cannot flow freely through constricted airways.
- Inflammation: The airway linings become swollen. Swollen airways dont let as much air in or out of the lungs.
- Mucus production: During the attack, your body creates more mucus. This thick mucus clogs airways.
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Whos Likely To Have Asthma Copd Or Aco
People who smoke or breathe in pollution or chemicals at work for many years have higher chances of having COPD. That’s why the condition often starts in middle age or later in life.
Asthma is sometimes caused by gene changes that are passed down through families. If one of your parents has the disease, you’re more likely to have it.
Symptoms of asthma often start in childhood, and the condition is one of the most widespread long-term illnesses in kids. It affects about 1 in 10 children.
Besides a family history of the condition, a few things can raise your chances of asthma:
- Being around chemicals or other irritants in the air
People who get ACO tend to be over 40 but younger than people with just COPD, and they have allergies .
What Is Good Asthma Care
Your doctor or nurse will tailor your asthma treatment to your symptoms. Sometimes you may need to be on higher levels of medication than at others.
You should be offered:
- care at your GP surgery provided by doctors and nurses trained in asthma management
- full information about your condition and how to control it
- involvement in making decisions about your treatment
- regular checks to ensure your asthma is under control and your treatment is right for you
- a written personal asthma action plan agreed with your doctor or nurse
It is also important that your GP or pharmacist teaches you how to properly use your inhaler, as this is an important part of good asthma care.
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Monitoring Asthma At Home
Some people use a handheld peak flow meter to evaluate their breathing and determine when they need intervention, before their symptoms become severe. People who experience frequent, severe asthma attacks should know how to reach help quickly.
Peak expiratory flow can be measured using a small handheld device called a peak flow meter. This test can be used at home to monitor the severity of asthma. Usually, peak flow rates are lowest between 4 AM and 6 AM and highest at 4 PM. However, more than a 30% difference in rates at these times is considered evidence of moderate to severe asthma. People with moderate to severe asthma, particularly those who need daily treatment to control symptoms, often use a peak flow meter to take measurements and compare them to their personal best to help identify signs of worsening asthma or the onset of an asthma attack.
All people with asthma should have a written treatment action plan that was devised in collaboration with their doctor. Such a plan allows them to take control of their own treatment and has been shown to decrease the number of times people need to seek care for asthma in the emergency department.
What Are The Causes Of Each
Viruses, such as those that cause the common cold, can cause bronchitis as well.
People coming in contact with viruses is how these germs are spread. This can happen when someone else coughs nearby or if they touch an infected persons hands.
People who also have gastroesophageal reflux disease can get acute bronchitis if stomach acid refluxes up and into their airways.
Doctors do not know exactly why people develop asthma. They do know that people with a family history of asthma or allergies are more likely to have the condition.
Being exposed at an early age to viruses that cause respiratory infections may also contribute.
People with bronchitis should drink plenty of fluids.
There is no cure for bronchitis because a virus is the cause of the condition.
A person should instead engage in actions and behaviors that will support their immune system and give it time to fight off the virus.
Methods to treat bronchitis include:
- drinking plenty of fluids
- getting plenty of rest
- taking over-the-counter cough medicines
A doctor may sometimes prescribe an inhaler with a medication designed to help the airways open more if a person is experiencing significant wheezing related to their bronchitis.
An example of this treatment is an albuterol inhaler. This is the same medication doctors also use to treat asthma.
Avoiding asthma triggers, such as smoke, allergens, or other irritants, can also help.
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Identifying Asthma Triggers With Allergy Testing
Determining what triggers a persons asthma is often difficult.
Allergy testing is appropriate when there is a suspicion that some avoidable substance is provoking attacks. Skin testing can help identify allergens that may trigger asthma symptoms. However, an allergic response to a skin test does not necessarily mean that the allergen being tested is causing the asthma. The person still has to note whether attacks occur after exposure to this allergen. If doctors suspect a particular allergen, a blood test that measures the level of antibody produced in response to the allergen can be done to determine the degree of the person’s sensitivity to the allergen.
Inflamatory And Immunological Profile
BA and COPD are characterized by chronic inflammation of the respiratory tract although the nature of the inflammation and localization are different . In both there are two groups of cells that are activated. One group is inflammatory cells recruited from peripheral blood to the lungs by chemotactic factors released locally, and the other group is airway and lung structural cells such as epithelial cells, endothelial cells, fibroblasts and smooth muscle cells, which also release inflammatory mediators and actively participate in the inflammatory process. In both, BA and COPD, the inflammatory response involves innate immunity and adaptive immunity .
In BA the inflammation is located from trachea to peripheral airways. In COPD the inflammatory process is located in peripheral pathways and parenchyma and is associated with systemic inflammation. Bronchial obstruction in BA occurs due to smooth muscle contraction, vascular congestion , remodeling of the airway and impaction of mucus . This inflammation also leads to bronchial hyperresponsiveness, a physiological abnormality of asthma that is characterized by variable symptoms including nocturnal worsening. In COPD, the predominantly peripheral obstruction, due to fibrosis and collapse due to loss of pulmonary elasticity , leads to gas trapping, which is an irreversible mechanism. However, there is an added cholinergic contraction that is reversible .
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Does Asthma Cause Permanent Damage
The airway obstruction of asthma is generally completely reversible and usually does not cause permanent damage to the lungs, heart, or other organs. However, severe acute episodes of asthma can be associated with life threatening events and even fatalities. Survival of severe life threatening events can be associated with damage from lack of oxygen during the severe exacerbation, and lack of oxygen to the brain can cause loss of consciousness and brain damage.
Chronic asthma with ongoing airway inflammation may also be associated with what is called “remodeling” of the airways. This describes permanent changes occurring in the tissues surrounding the airways that results in permanent narrowing of airways. The potential for this emphasizes the importance of monitoring pulmonary function in patients with asthma at regular intervals, particularly those with a chronic pattern of asthma.
How Is Each Condition Diagnosed
Doctors can use a spirometry test to diagnose asthma.
Doctors can diagnose asthma by taking a health history and asking about a persons symptoms, such as when they become worse or better.
Doctors can then conduct breathing tests to see if someone is likely to have asthma.
Several different tests exist, but a common one is known as spirometry.
Spirometry involves a person blowing into a sensor that measures how fast and hard they are exhaling their breath.
How forcefully a person can exhale is usually reduced if they have asthma.
A doctor may consider asthma over bronchitis if someone has had a cough that goes away but keeps returning.
An exception is when a person has chronic bronchitis, often because they smoke. Asthma is also often unresponsive to cough medications.
A doctor will diagnose bronchitis by:
- taking a medical history
- listening to the lungs
- considering symptoms
A doctor may also order a chest X-ray to ensure symptoms are not related to pneumonia. They may consider a further round of testing for asthma if the symptoms do not improve in 1 or 2 weeks.
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What Is The Difference Between Allergic Asthma And Asthma
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Also question is, how do I know if it’s allergies or asthma?
Signs of an allergic reaction include frequent or regularly recurring itchy eyes, nose, mouth or ears, sneezing, a runny nose, dry skin or hives, a productive cough, wheezing or tightness in your chest. Allergies can trigger an asthma attack however, asthma is present in some people without allergies.
Secondly, what are asthmatics allergic to? Allergic asthma is the most common type of asthma. About 90% of kids with childhood asthma have allergies, compared with about 50% of adults with asthma. The symptoms that go along with allergic asthma show up after you breathe things called allergens like pollen, dust mites, or mold.
Secondly, can allergic asthma go away?
There is no cure for asthma. However, there are medical treatments that can prevent allergic reactions as well as treat asthma symptoms. Doctors may also prescribe treatments to reduce airway irritation if a person experiences an asthma attack, and to prevent asthma symptoms and airway inflammation over the long term.
Does allergy medication help asthma?
“If you have an allergy component to your asthma, they can be beneficial,” says Dr. Poole. Antihistamines are usually combined with inhaled corticosteroids or Singulair and can reduce inflammation in both the nose and the lungs. They are cheap, available over-the-counter, and have relatively few side effects.
Personal Asthma Action Plan
As part of your initial assessment, you should be encouraged to draw up a personal asthma action plan with your GP or asthma nurse.
If you’ve been admitted to hospital because of an asthma attack, you should be offered an action plan before you go home.
The action plan should include information about your asthma medicines, and will help you recognise when your symptoms are getting worse and what steps to take. You should also be given information about what to do if you have an asthma attack.
Your personal asthma action plan should be reviewed with your GP or asthma nurse at least once a year, or more frequently if your symptoms are severe.
As part of your asthma plan, you may be given a peak flow meter. This will give you another way of monitoring your asthma, rather than relying only on symptoms, so you can recognise deterioration earlier and take appropriate steps.
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Symptoms Of A Severe Asthma Attack
If you suddenly experience a severe asthma attack, then you may experience one or more of the following symptoms:
- A bluish tint to your lips, face or fingernails
- Feeling that you need to stand up or sit in order to try and breathe more easily
- Feeling confused or agitated
- Being unable to speak in full sentences
- Feeling very short of breath and unable to inhale or exhale fully
- Rapid breathing
- Symptoms that dont get better after using a reliever inhaler.
With a very severe asthma attack, the usual symptoms of wheezing or coughing might not worsen. This is because your airways may be so affected that you cant get enough air in or out of your lungs to cause wheezing sounds or make you cough.
It is a medical emergency and you should go to a hospital immediately. Compared to mild asthma attacks that may only last a few minutes, severe asthma attacks can last from hours to days and may be life-threatening if left untreated.