Things You Need to Know About COPD and Asthma

Both COPD and Asthma affect millions of people. Asthma affects both young and old, while chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder typically affects older people more frequently. Both are diagnosed with the same test however further testing may be needed to determine the severity of the disease as well as the amount of damage that it has already caused. These additional tests may also help determine the best treatment plans and the expected outcomes for the person. All treatment plans will include lifestyle changes and simple health tips but may not be enough for people who have a very severe level of obstruction or who have already had serious, long-term damage.

COPD Symptoms

Both conditions have similar symptoms in the beginning. These can include shortness of breath, wheezing or coughing and a tight feeling in the chest. As it progresses though, the COPD symptoms may become more severe and may include weight loss, a cough that produces a lot of mucous and a blue color that appears on the lips and under the fingernails. This blueness is called “cyanosis” and it means that the blood in your body is not getting enough oxygen.

These are the typical symptoms but are not the same as what one feels when they are having an “attack”. During those times, a person may feel like they are drowning or that someone is sitting on their chest. They may gasp for breath or may feel like they cannot take a breath. Some people describe it as trying to breathe through a drinking straw. Immediate action such as a rescue inhaler, breathing treatment or sometimes a trip to the ER are necessary.

The Causes of COPD and Asthma

Since both are found with the same basic test and have similar symptoms, most people assume that both of these chronic breathing issues are the same. In the beginning, both are a chronic obstruction of the airways and breathing passages. However, as it progresses, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease can cause additional damage. Left untreated, the lack of oxygen may cause injury to the brain which could result in memory loss and more.

Environmental causes such as cigarette smoke and air pollution are the two most common causes. Others include bacterial infection and workplace exposure to chemicals or substances that are considered to be dangerous to the lungs.

COPD Treatments

Because smoking and the exposure to tobacco smoke is the number one cause for most respiratory conditions, the first step in your treatment plan will be to eliminate this from your life. Additional COPD treatments can include getting more exercise, oxygen therapy and breathing goals and medications. For those who cannot make the changes or for whom changes are not enough, there are other, more drastic treatment plans that include major surgery up to and including lung transplant and more. It is always best to work hard with the least invasive treatments first so that you can get good results, a longer and more enjoyable life without having to go through surgery and a long recovery.