Asthma and COPD are not the same thing, even though their symptoms – and their damaging effects on your ability to breathe – often resemble each other.
Asthma and COPD are both forms of lung disease, and either can cause severe respiratory problems. When you have either asthma or COPD, you are likely to experience wheezing, shortness of breath, chest tightness and coughing. But there are significant differences when you look at their causes, and the age when they are most likely to appear.
Asthma causes smaller airways in the lungs to become more narrow than they should be, which in turn causes asthma symptoms. Furthermore asthma is often diagnosed during childhood or adolescence. although it can happen at any time during your life. As you grow older, asthma symptoms may become less noticeable and may also occur less often. Genetics may play a role too – this disorder generally runs in families.
COPD, however, is a disease that occurs in adults – especially those who have reached middle age and have smoked cigarettes for a long time. Many individuals who have COPD are still smoking at the time of their diagnosis.