COPD or Asthma?

Posted , 6 users are following.

Hi... I've had Asthma since I was a young child with the usual chest infections that I can remember being totally debilitating - not being able to walk upstairs and watching the other kids in the street playing outside whilst I couldn't breathe.  As a young adult, I was incredibly fit although my lung function has always been less than expected for my age and I have smoked since being a teenager (I stopped getting asthma attacks whilst with family members that smoked!)  A couple of years ago, I was diagnosed with COPD by the Asthma nurse at the GP's although this has not yet been updated onto my health records.  My lung function is around 75% (which it has always been) and although I'm not as fit as I was when I was younger, I am much fitter than many people my age, I'm 52.  How do I know whether this is simply my asthma, whether it's COPD or whether in fact I've never had Asthma but COPD?

0 likes, 5 replies

Report / Delete

5 Replies

  • Posted

    The only way to be sure is to ask for a spirometry test.  This can distinguise between copd and asthma in a way a peak and flow test can't.  It can be notoriously difficult in the early stages of copd to decide if it is that or just asthma. 

    The main difference is asthma with the right meds is usually reversible.  Copd is not as it is a progressive disease.   Even if you haven't got copd you probably will unless you pack in the fags.   That's a bit hypocritical of me coz I am still smoking even though my asthma nurse warned me years ago that I was heading for copd unless I stopped.  I didn't and I was eventually diagnosed with it. 

    As a smoker you are at a much higher risk of getting copd than if you didn't smoke and especially if you already have asthma.   But if you are worried about it ask for that spirometry test,   x

    Report / Delete Reply
    • Posted

      Oh forgot to say it is rare to be diagnosed with copd under the age of around mid 40's and it is much  more common in your 40's and older. 

      Having said that my asthma was not taken seriously until I was diagnosed with copd.  With the right meds my asthma improved enormously and the nurse said it had been probably poorly controlled asthma.  I think this was because I smoke and wasn't  taken seriously.  x

      Report / Delete Reply
    • Posted

      I agree with hypercat, but wanted to add another point that might be interesting for Sue.

      In addition to spirometry a DLCO test is a very accurate measurement in order to  differentiate between Asthma and COPD. The DLCO test basically indicates how well the lungs can take up oxygen. In combination with spirometry, a normal DLCO value would be an indication for Asthma, whereas a low DLCO value would be an indication for COPD.

      I believe it would make sense to ask your physician, where you can do a DLCO test.

      Please note, that I am not a medical doctor, I am working for "ndd - new diagnostic design", and we are specialized in developing lung function test devices.

      Report / Delete Reply

Join this discussion or start a new one?

New discussion Reply

Report or request deletion

Thanks for your help!

We want the forums to be a useful resource for our users but it is important to remember that the forums are not moderated or reviewed by doctors and so you should not rely on opinions or advice given by other users in respect of any healthcare matters. Always speak to your doctor before acting and in cases of emergency seek appropriate medical assistance immediately. Use of the forums is subject to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy and steps will be taken to remove posts identified as being in breach of those terms.

newnav-down newnav-up