Asthma Specialist
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD, and asthma can both make breathing labored and inflame your lungs. These diseases are very different, but can be confused, especially if you’re diagnosed in adulthood. Dr. Ray Santos and Dr. Ritu Sharma can provide reliable screenings, diagnosis, and treatment to help you manage asthma or COPD, regardless of your age. Residents in the Jersey City, New Jersey area, should seek their expert care at DRS Medical Associates.

Asthma / COPD Q & A

DRS Medical Associates

What is COPD?

COPD describes a serious version of respiratory diseases, including chronic bronchitis and emphysema. It’s characterized by a decrease in your airflow and inflammation in the tissues along your airway.

COPD usually develops in people after age 40, with smoking being a major contributor to its development. Between 20% and 30% of smokers develop it. Less than 1% of COPD patients develop it due to a genetic cause.

COPD progresses with time. Once diagnosed, it’s a long-term condition and can’t be cured.

What is asthma?

The symptoms of asthma include wheezing, coughing, and shortness of breath. A doctor may diagnose you with asthma at any age, often in childhood. It may result from a combination of genetic factors and environmental conditions, but researchers aren’t entirely certain as to why some people get asthma. Like COPD, it’s also a long-term condition that may or may not progress as you age.

How is asthma triggered?

Certain substances can trigger symptoms of asthma in affected people. These include:

  • Pollen and dust mites
  • Mold
  • Pet hair
  • Respiratory infections
  • Cold air or smoke
  • Physical activity
  • Certain medications: Including aspirin
  • Food preservatives and sulfites
  • Stress

What triggers COPD?

Smoke definitely aggravates COPD as do certain pollutants. However, COPD sufferers are most susceptible to increased symptoms due to a respiratory tract infection, such as the flu or pneumonia.

What are the treatments for COPD and asthma?

Both COPD and asthma are lifelong conditions, but some children will outgrow asthma when they reach adulthood.

Daily management of symptoms is possible for both respiratory ailments, but asthma is usually easier to control.

Lung function is reversible in people with asthma, but not those with COPD. Even mild cases of COPD will eventually progress to a severe deterioration in lung function.

Medications, including inhaled steroids and bronchodilators, help resolve the immediate symptoms of both COPD and asthma.

COPD sufferers may also need to receive oxygen and cardiovascular support.

If asthma is prompted by an allergy, allergy medications can help. The doctors may also recommend long-term asthma control medications.

Dr. Santos and Dr. Sharma will help find the therapy that best controls your respiratory symptoms and improves your quality of life.

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