The Differences Between Asthma and COPD
Treating Asthma and COPD
There is considerable overlap between asthma and COPD treatments. Many options will help if you have asthma, COPD, or both. "We've been successful on the asthma side with medications that open up the airways," says Dr. Noth. As a result, those same medications are often prescribed to people with COPD to relieve breathing difficulty.
Treatments for one or both conditions include:
- Inhaled bronchodilators.Short- or long-acting medications may be prescribed to improve breathing for both asthma and COPD.
- Inhaled corticosteroids.These steroids may be recommended for asthma or COPD when symptoms flare or worsen.
- Lifestyle changes.People with either asthma or COPD, or both, benefit from lifestyle changes such as changing the home environment to remove triggers, eating more healthfully, controlling weight, and being more physically active.
- Vaccinations.People with both conditions need to keep their vaccinations up to date, including a yearly flu shot.
It's important to note that not all asthma medications help with COPD symptoms, and additional measures may be necessary. Leukotriene receptor antagonist medications such as montelukast (Singulair), effective for people with asthma, don't have an impact on COPD, even though COPD patients sometimes request and use them, Noth says. Because of the chronic and progressive nature of COPD, people with this condition might need to use oxygen as directed by their physician as well, he adds.
Understanding the differences between the two conditions, and the best ways to treat them, can help ensure you have the best quality of life.
Video: Difference between Asthma and COPD
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