Can you imagine what it’d feel like not being able to breathe?
Sadly, a lot of people are all too familiar with the feeling of breathlessness. Almost 37 million Americans are living with some type of lung disease.
If you or someone you know has a chronic lung disease, like asthma or COPD, it’s helpful to understand the similarities and differences. To help you out, we’ve created this short but complete guide that outlines the causes and treatments for both diseases.
Read on to learn the truth about COPD vs. asthma.
COPD vs. Asthma
Let’s start by reviewing the similarities of COPD vs. asthma. Individuals with either disease can benefit from either quitting smoking or avoiding being around cigarette smoke in the first place.
Both COPD and asthma create swelling in the airways that make it difficult to breathe. The swelling is the result of a chronic inflammatory disorder that directly affects the airways.
However, when it comes to COPD vs asthma, asthma only affects the airways. Whereas COPD will affect the airways and can damage the lungs parenchyma. The parenchyma is the part of the lungs that helps with gas exchange.
Moving on, let’s look at what it’s like to live with asthma. You can either be born with asthma or develop it. Wheezing, breathlessness, and coughing are all things asthma sufferers have to deal with. The disease can also make you feel fatigued, even after getting a full night’s rest.
Another side effect of asthma is asthma attacks. Different things can trigger an asthma attack, such as smoke, or overexertion. If someone’s having an asthma attack, their breathing becomes rapid, their chest tightens up, and it can feel as if they’re suffocating.
Sadly, there currently isn’t any cure for asthma patients. However, there are anti-inflammatory medications available that are proving useful in the fight to control asthma symptoms. If taken at the right time, the medications can help the lungs operate normally.
Unlike asthma, COPD isn’t something you’re born with. Instead, individuals with COPD develop it over their lifetime for a variety of reasons. Living in an area with high air pollution, working around chemicals, and smoking cigarettes can all cause COPD.
Similar to asthma, COPD sufferers can experience shortness of breath, wheezing, and coughing. A big difference however is that along with having difficulty breathing, COPD can also cause an excess of phlegm.
Unfortunately, there isn’t any cure for COPD, however, there are treatments available to help make the symptoms less intense. Treatments include surgery, oxygen therapy, and different medications.
Understand the Difference
Now you understand the similarities and differences when it comes to COPD vs. asthma. While both diseases directly affect the lungs, COPD is something you can avoid, whereas asthma is usually something you’re born with.
Be sure to share what you learned here today with the people you love so they can understand the differences too. For more life facts you should know about, check out the rest of this site.