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Old 04-01-2009, 10:59 AM   #1
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Asthma v. COPD

I am 38 and was just diagnosed with lung problems. I don't have a full diagnosis yet, but my dr. thinks I may have asthma (we are awaiting more tests).

My question is how is asthma different than COPD? Also, can one have both? If someone here has COPD, can you describe what some of those symptoms are vs. asthma or even just in general?

Thanks!

 
Old 04-01-2009, 11:48 AM   #2
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Re: Asthma v. COPD

Some doctors use these terms interchangeably. Asthma is a more specific dx whereas COPD is more general and covers many possibilities. The symptoms are pretty much the same.

 
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Old 04-01-2009, 12:44 PM   #3
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Re: Asthma v. COPD

I thought COPD was like a permanent illness that is more serious and asthma was different?

 
Old 04-01-2009, 01:38 PM   #4
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Re: Asthma v. COPD

Actually, while the symptoms of COPD and asthma are similar - shortness of breath, swollen linings in the bronchi and excess mucus production, they are very different diseases (and no doctor should use the terms interchangeably).

Asthma is controllable (with medications) inflammation of the bronchi. COPD is a degenerative condition that results in permanent scarring of the bronchi that cannot be reversed (is usually caused by smoking) and that inevitably worsens over time.

Last edited by gcsjr; 04-02-2009 at 03:42 AM.

 
Old 04-01-2009, 03:31 PM   #5
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Re: Asthma v. COPD

gcsmithjr: I always agree with your remarks but I feel compelled to ask you to reconsider the use of the word "reversible" when talking about asthma. That would indicate to most people that it is curable - which it is not. Perhaps controllable is a better choice?

 
Old 04-02-2009, 01:59 AM   #6
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Re: Asthma v. COPD

hahaha... I wish ON my life asthma was reversible!! lol controlled... yes.. I have had asthma for 20 years, and I have to say I really never took it serious. but there are sooo many different types of asthma, and so many different types of meds to treat what kind you have. i see lots of 2 year olds in my daycare come in with asthma meds because they cant seem to get over the bronchitis or cold they have. the meds help, they get over it! they cured Asthma! as they dont need their meds again. until of course it happens again, could be 10 years later, who knows.. but did they Really have Asthma? or where they just treating a chest infection. with the supper bugs these days, chest infections are getting worse and asthma meds work wonders on them.

I really dont know anymore. for me it is just life. if I didnít have an attack for a long time, I would think OMG its cured, and then I would have an attacks again I get symptoms, I take my meds, the symptoms are gone. I take a shower, it hurts to breath, I take my med. ALL BETTER!! yaaaay!!


I only ever took my meds when it HURT. and ofcouse, i'm an idiot, because I never took it serious, and smoked for 15 years. and let a woman move into my house with LOTS of cat. And Iím allergic to cats.

then I started getting more and more asthma attack and chronic bronchitis. chest pains.. ect.. and my meds were not working. and they keep upping the dose and changing the meds. now i'm on the strongest med. there is nothing better then this. I was told if I donít quit smoking MAX 2 years I will be on oxygen. but it looks more like 6 months. and now, the strongest asthma med will not control my asthma.. thatís when I was diagnosed Lung Disease COPD. Early stages..

my doc told me if I quit smoking and live as healthy as I can, it could be reversible because we catch it early. Menaing, I just have to deal with asthma. that sounds great to me

But when I quit smoking and got over the lung infection, the damage to my lungs is soo bad. My breaths are very shallow as I have lost lung capacity, and I have to gasp to get a full lung of air, just breating in, I cannot fill my lungs. And sometimes I can barely breath in at all. And NO meds will work. Now.. Iím scaredÖ I donno which way I will go.

one way I may go is Like the doc said and clean up my life, get healthy and reverse it, then I only have to worry about the asthmaÖ

Or it progresses, and no meds work and I cant move talk or anything because I cant breath only force Oxygen in as I cant do it myself to keep me alive..

Asthma you struggle to breath, you take meds, you can breath again! Most the time I donít take meds, I wait for it to pass the body is great at seeing there is trouble and doing its own thing. I only take them when it feels serious or dangerous.

My COPD, you struggle to breath, but meds donít work. You wait for it to pass. Its soo crappy sometimes, I want to cryÖ but I donít have the breath to talk, walk, or cry.

To me, COPD is worse. And I can only hope that every time I struggle to breath and slowly start suffocating, that its only an asthma attack and my meds will work.

 
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Old 04-02-2009, 03:43 AM   #7
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Re: Asthma v. COPD

Quote:
Originally Posted by Titchou View Post
gcsmithjr: I always agree with your remarks but I feel compelled to ask you to reconsider the use of the word "reversible" when talking about asthma. That would indicate to most people that it is curable - which it is not. Perhaps controllable is a better choice?
Good catch Titchou - I was typing faster than I was thinking when I posted that. I changed the post and hope it didn't confuse anyone.

 
Old 04-02-2009, 09:02 AM   #8
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Re: Asthma v. COPD

Jacquie, I am so sorry to hear your story. Mine is so strange that I am unsure where I lie. I have a hard time taking in a breath as I have tietzes syndrome, which is where the cartilidge/connective tissues of the ribs are inflamed and irritated at all times, and I am in constant pain-just to a slight touch. I can't fully expand my lungs to breath. (I have the chronic type which is rare.) I also have only 76% lung function and don't know how bad that is--anyone????

When I use inhaler meds my lung function test went up a lot, so that is why they were thinking asthma. (However, I don't have "attacks" or wheezing, so I am lost.) I smoked for years and worked in a nightclub that was essentially a box of smokers without air. (Youth!!)

Thoughts?

 
Old 04-05-2009, 08:27 AM   #9
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Re: Asthma v. COPD

Eeek.. sounds painful. I never heard of that condition, but it doesnít surprise me at all. Kinda sounds like asthma caused by smoking. I know emphysema has to do with the walls of the lungs, much like what you are talking about. Asthma can be inflammation in the lungs, really any part of the lungs that want to inflame. As the airway constricts, or It can be too much mucus build-up or over production. But usually with asthma you have trouble exhaling more then inhaling. I find inhaling painful and kinda cold feeling, and exhaling wheezy tight.

Inflammation can be caused by other things too, like allergens, diet or environment. You will get better control of it if you are able to make changes. If you know what is causing your asthma attacks. Asthma meds(inhalers) help when symptoms are bad, but if you donít get rid of the cause, it could progress. You will probably have only 78% lung function for the rest of your life, thatís typical asthma. If it is early stages emphysema then they can only treat it as asthma but it will progress most likely. Till one day puffers donít work anymore, and you lung capacity is soo small all they can do is hook you up to Oxygen. Only time will tell. First step is treating it as asthma, and keeping it under control.

 
Old 04-07-2009, 09:32 AM   #10
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Re: Asthma v. COPD

Thanks for your replies. I am learning and will keep you posted as to what my diagnosis ends up being.

 
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