Asthma and COPD: How to Tell the Difference?

Asthma is a common respiratory condition that can affect both adults and children. It causes difficulties with breathing, a chronic cough, shortness of breath, and wheezing. These symptoms are not always present, though, and can come and go depending on how severe the case of asthma is.

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, also known as COPD, is a term for a group of respiratory diseases such as chronic bronchitis and emphysema. COPD is characterized by long-term difficulties with breathing and poor airflow. Typical symptoms are a persistent cough with mucus production and shortness of breath. COPD is a progressive disease which means that the condition will become more pronounced over time.

Because asthma and COPD have similar symptoms, it can sometimes be difficult to tell them apart. It is even possible for people to have both at the same time as studies show about 40% of people with COPD also have asthma. However, it is possible to tell the difference between the two. Some ways to do this are:  

  • Age: Asthma is usually diagnosed in childhood whereas COPD is diagnosed later in life, usually assessed to smokers/ex-smokers aged 40 or over.
  • Triggers: For asthma, allergens, physical activity, or colder temperatures can be potential causes. COPD causes usually consist of respiratory tract infections like the flu or pneumonia.
  • Symptoms: While the symptoms between the two conditions can be similar, asthma generally has a sudden onset of symptoms whereas COPD symptoms are more constant. 

Even though both are chronic conditions with different outlooks, those who suffer from asthma and COPD can help reduce their symptoms through medication.  Common asthma and COPD medications include Salbutamol (brand name of Ventolin) and Clenil Inhalers. You can get Salbutamol/Ventolin and Clenil Inhalers online in the UK through Pharmacy Planet. There are several online pharmacies out there, but Pharmacy Planet is one of the most trusted in the UK. They can help you today with getting asthma and COPD medication shipped right to your home.