Asthma or COPD--Understanding the Differences

Coughing that just won’t go away. Shortness of breath. Wheezing. Sounds like an asthma attack, right? Before reaching for the inhaler or those over-the-counter cough drops, however, there could be another culprit–Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) or emphysema. With as many as 12,000 million Americans currently living with COPD (and just as many who likely have the disease but are undiagnosed), it’s important to determine the real cause behind coughing, wheezing or shortness of breath. Let's take a look at some of the major differences between these two conditions: Asthma: Environmental factors such as cigarette smoke, dust, and pet hair can trigger asthmatic symptoms like whee

COPD Basics: How It’s Diagnosed and Treated

As strange as it may seem, there are actually times when receiving a definitive diagnosis for debilitating symptoms is a relief. Finally, there’s a name for the condition and a plan to treat it! This is certainly true for those diagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). If your senior loved one has been battling chronic coughing, wheezing, and fatigue, a diagnosis of COPD just might be the first step in improving his or her quality of life. To diagnose COPD, the doctor will likely: Assess the individual’s health and environment, to include smoking, exposure to pollutants, symptoms, and family health history Perform tests such as spirometry (breathing into a machine to che

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