If you have asthma, you know how uncomfortable it can be to deal with shortness of breath, tightness in the chest, and coughing. And if you also have COPD, you may be dealing with even more on a daily basis. So, what sets these two respiratory conditions apart? And more importantly, what can be done to manage them both?
The Difference Between Asthma and COPD
Asthma is a chronic lung condition that can cause episodes of wheezing, shortness of breath, chest tightness, and coughing. These episodes can be triggered by things like exercise, cold air, or allergens. There is no cure for asthma, but you can manage the condition with medication and avoid things that trigger an attack.
COPD, or Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, is a debilitating condition that slowly makes it harder and harder to breathe. It is almost always caused by smoking cigarettes, but long-term exposure to secondhand smoke, air pollution, or other irritants can also lead to the development of COPD. There is currently no cure for this disease, however, symptoms can be managed through medication and careful attention to lifestyle choices.
Managing Asthma and COPD Together
If you suffer from asthma as well as COPD, it falls on you to manage both conditions alongside your doctor. This management may include taking the medication regularly, dodging asthma triggers, exercising often, and quitting smoking entirely. In some cases, you may need oxygen therapy to help make breathing easier. The most important thing is to stay as healthy as possible and to avoid exacerbations (worsening of symptoms) of either condition.
Having asthma or COPD can be difficult and make regular activities a challenge. While there is no cure for either condition, there are ways to manage both asthma and COPD so that you can live a healthy and active life. If you have both asthma and COPD, work with your doctor to develop a management plan that works for you.
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