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What Are the Differences and Similarities between COPD and Asthma?

The CDC estimates that nearly 25 million, or 1 in 12, people have asthma.

Unfortunately, that number is only increasing as time goes on. This lifelong disease ranges from mild to severe in nature, depending on the age and symptoms of the asthma sufferer. While asthma may seem like a simple disease, many of those who suffer from asthma are misdiagnosed. Asthma is often confused with COPD because of the similarity of their symptoms. Without a proper diagnosis, it’s impossible to treat the illness properly. There are several distinguishable differences between asthma and COPD. While it’s possible to have COPD and asthma together, it’s important to understand the symptoms and effects of each disease individually in order to be aware of crossover complications.

What is Asthma?

Asthma is a chronic respiratory disease that limits the amount of air that passes through the lungs. Someone who doesn’t suffer from asthma doesn’t struggle to breathe. Their airways aren’t irritated, allowing air to flow freely in and out as they breathe. Those who have asthma suffer from swollen or inflamed airways. Environmental elements, such as allergies, pollution, and dust, can aggravate those airways even more, preventing easy airflow. If triggered by the environment, the swelling around the lungs increase, making breathing next to impossible. This incident is known as an asthma attack. In many cases, relief from the attack can only be attained with nebulizers or medication. Asthma isn’t a condition that progressively worsens. Instead, each sufferer will go through flare-ups, depending on their circumstances. It’s also possible for sufferers to go an extended period of time without any symptoms.

While there is no cure, those with asthma can reduce their risk of attacks by avoiding triggers and staying conscious of the air quality around them.

What is COPD?

COPD is similar to asthma in that it’s a chronic disease with no current cure.  There are, however, a few key differences between the two. COPD, or Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, is a term that’s often used to describe progressive lung disease, including emphysema and chronic bronchitis. Symptoms differ in every patient, making it difficult to diagnose. In fact, the National Institute of Health estimates that nearly 24 million Americans suffer from COPD, but half of that number doesn’t realize that they have it. Some may experience wheezing or tightness in the chest while others may feel increasingly breathless.

No matter what the symptoms, in order for a respiratory disease to be considered COPD, lung function must continue to decrease.

How are COPD and Asthma Diagnosis Related

Because COPD and asthma are two separate diseases, it’s possible to have both simultaneously. When a patient shows symptoms of both illnesses, it’s known as COPD overlap syndrome, or ACOS. While those with ACOS tend to be younger, it can develop at any age. Those with a family history of allergies or asthma, who experienced respiratory infections as a child, or who smoke regularly are especially susceptible ACOS. Through imaging tests, including CT scans and MRIs, and also pulmonary function tests, physicians can determine whether or not your lung function indicates that ACOS is present.

Those with ACOS may experience intermittent symptoms, similar to those experienced with asthma. However, over time, their lung function decreases, similar to what happens in patients with COPD. Because of this, ACOS is a serious diagnosis. If not treated properly, it could affect every day activities and reduce life expectancy.

To treat an ACOS diagnosis, the symptoms of each disease must be handled separately. Your physician may recommend typical asthma treatments, like avoiding certain allergens, taking specific medications, and preventing illness. On top of regular asthma treatments, pulmonary rehabilitation and disease management training may recommend to reduce the COPD symptoms. Regular checkups with respiratory therapists, physical therapists, and general physicians is also recommended to frequently gauge the progress of ACOS.

The link between COPD and asthma is often hard to understand. Because the two are so similar, it’s easy to confuse them. The first step in determining whether you’re suffering from a serious respiratory disease is to note your symptoms. Whether you’re experiencing frequent shortness of breath, chest pain, or difficulty breathing, it’s important to consult with a physician as soon as possible. With the right diagnosis and treatment plan, it’s possible to manage your symptoms and experience relief.

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Client Reviews

24 Hour Home Care review summary

Reviewer: Patricia
Patricia 2020-09-18 via Google
I like working for 24hr home care because they allow me to have a flexible schedule and I can take advantage of how far away from home I'd like to travel for work.
Reviewer: Liliana D
Liliana D 2020-09-18 via Google
Improving getting better and better really listen to our voice send us a recognition letter congratulating us as frontline workers, send us a little gift for our performance, send us an gift certificate from amazon for school supplies pack of $30 dollars for our children looking forward for more improvements feels good to be recognize as a great frontline worker helps us get more motivated afterall thats going on. Ive never got anything or a congratulations from them ever its the first time in the 3 years ive work with them and today they call me to say happy bday i feel special. Thank you 24hr homecare
Reviewer: Tatyana
Tatyana 2020-09-18 via Google
Pros: It’s nice working here. With this agency, you have a very flexible schedule. There are a lot of 4-5 hour shifts, although they do offer overnight shifts as well from 8 hours, maybe 12. You can qualify for employee benefits after 1 year of working here. They have “emergency rate” wages as well, these are last minute shifts that can raise from $1-5 an hour; if they hired you at $14hr and they give you an (e-rate) emergency rate then it’ll probably be from $15, $16, $17+ depending on the case. Traveling is required and they did have a virtual interview with me. They have employees working 24 hours if you decide to call them. They use the CC-Go app to clock in and clock out. They also give you a link to a corporate perks website that will give you discounts on phones, plane tickets, hotels ect. Cons: Communication with the office/managers can be difficult at times because when you call, anyone/random person can answer. My personal recommendation as a company request for employee(s): Sending each caregiver a “care package” in a ziplock bag with gloves, masks, hand sanitizer, ect. in case a facility or client doesn’t have the supplies needed. Having these “care packages” would help the company prevent any further sicknesses when dealing with urination and bowel movements if anything were to happen.
Reviewer: Samantha
Samantha 2020-09-13 via Google
Highly recommend!
Reviewer: Samantha
Samantha 2020-09-13 via Google
Great, award-winning company!
Reviewer: Samantha
Samantha 2020-09-13 via Google
Great company! Highly recommend.
Reviewer: CAROL
CAROL 2020-08-01 via Google
Reviewer: Laura
Laura 2020-06-12 via Google
Our care givers are loving, friendly and devoted. They are family! Thank you for being here for us.
Reviewer: Richard
Richard 2020-06-09 via Google
Our Care-giver Mudrakat is a blessing for us, with a big heart, and a very professional approach and skills - she will go far...
Reviewer: Raul
Raul 2020-05-28 via Google
Great place to work for!

The Most Trusted Caregivers

The success of our clients and company is entirely dependent on the quality of our caregivers. We make certain to find and provide our senior clients with the industry's best caretakers so that they have a positive in-home care experience. We submit all of our caregivers through nationwide background checks, assessment tests, and verify multiple references. All of our caregivers are required to be compassionate, reliable, experienced, and above all else, TRUSTWORTHY. We understand that you are entrusting your loved one's home and well-being with our company, and we take that very seriously.

24 Hour Home Care® is committed to improving the lives of our senior clients. By assisting seniors with their daily living activities, we are able to keep them at home where they are comfortable and allow them to thrive during this chapter of their lives. Not only do we strive to exceed customer satisfaction, but we strive to exceed employee satisfaction. We want all of our caregivers to be proud and happy to work for 24 Hour Home Care® so that they will provide the best senior home care possible!


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