If you suffer from frequent shortness of breath, chest tightness, coughing and wheezing, you probably suffer from one of the following respiratory problems: namely Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), asthma or allergies.
What is COPD?
Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease is a set of conditions that usually have a late onset in life. Unlike Asthma, COPD develops and worsens over time and is usually caused by external factors such as smoking cigarettes, pipe smoking, cigar smoking, environmental or work related dust and allergen inhalation and pollution. COPD can be managed by medicines such as bronchodilators, but it does not get better with time. People who suffer from COPD usually also get frequent respiratory tract infections and the airflow obstruction that is experienced by these patients is only partially reversible.
What Is Asthma?
Asthma is an allergen mediated response by the human respiratory system in which shortness of breath, wheezing, chest tightness and coughing occur. The onset of asthma is usually in a person”s childhood, but late on-set asthma is also possible. Asthma can become fatal if not treated properly and people can actually lose their lives if the allergen mediated response is very severe. Asthma is managed by prescribing bronchodilators to patients and people with asthma can actually live a normal life, with symptoms only occurring in the presence of allergens. The most common allergens that trigger asthma are dust, pollen, dust mites and cat or dog dander. Asthma can also be exacerbated by cold air, and exercise.
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What Are Allergies?
Allergies can occur to anyone, and any person can be allergic to a particular substance or chemical that can trigger a respiratory response. Most people who don”t suffer from COPD or Asthma, who have respiratory symptoms, usually suffer from allergies. Some of the most common allergens are dust, pollen and animal dander. Allergies are treated by prescribing patients antihistamines, which reverse the sequence of events in the human body that cause an allergic response. Allergies can be mild, or even severe and can also be linked to food items eaten like shell fish and peanuts. A person”s response to an allergen differs greatly with some people developing a mild skin rash, to the more severe response which can lead to complete closure of the respiratory passage and even death.
Check out our COPD symptom quiz.
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