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Are COPD and Asthma the same?

Health Care
Thursday, October 06, 2022

Asthma and COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) affect millions of individuals worldwide [1]. Given that the main symptoms for both are similar, determining which condition is difficult. Despite their similar symptoms, Asthma and COPD are not the same thing and have differences which we will look into today.  

Causes of Asthma [2] 

Asthma is caused by a combination of your genes and, in many cases, an underlying immune system problem. There is no one single definite cause.  

This immune overreaction to environmental substances causes the airways to tighten and swell, resulting in difficulty in breathing. Triggers include:  

- animals 

- pollen 

- dust 

- cigarette smoke  

It is a variable disease. Your symptoms can range from mild to severe.  It is estimated that 90% of asthma cases are uncontrolled. [3] 

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Cause of COPD [4] [5]  

Most COPD patients are adults, typically aged 40 and up. COPD develops over time as a result of lifestyle factors such as smoking or breathing noxious gases or pollution.  

Like Asthma, you will experience breathing difficulties.  Symptoms of COPD include: 

-Breathing problems when moving around. The advanced stage includes shortness of breath even when doing nothing. 

-Coughing that produces mucus.  

-Wheezing is a whistling sound made while breathing. 

-Tightness in the chest 


COPD and Asthma are not curable, but they are treatable. Getting the right diagnosis is critical to receive the proper treatment. Speak to your doctor for more information.  


  1. Cukic, V., Lovre, V., Dragisic, D., & Ustamujic, A. (2012). Asthma and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (Copd) and #8211; Differences and Similarities. Materia Socio Medica, 24(2), 100. doi: 10.5455/msm.2012.24.100-105 
  2. Meynell, H., Khachi, H., & Murphy, A. (2014). Asthma: pathophysiology, causes and diagnosis. Clinical Pharmacist. doi: 10.1211/cp.2014.20066997 
  3. Understanding Asthma. (2022). from World Health Organization Mortality Database. Global Health Estimates 2016: 
  4. Devine, J. (2022). Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease: An Overview. from 
  5. MayoClinic. (2022). COPD - Symptoms and causes. from 


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