Asthma vs COPD: 6 Ways to Tell the Difference

Asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) are often mistaken for one another. It’s easy to understand why, as they’re both respiratory conditions that can cause symptoms such as coughing, wheezing, and shortness of breath.

But asthma and COPD are actually very different diseases, and understanding what distinguishes one from the other is crucial to receiving a correct diagnosis and effective treatment. Here are six differentiating characteristics to be mindful of.

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1. Age of Onset

According to Healthline.com, the age a person is when the disease presents itself is “often the distinguishing feature between COPD and asthma,” as they are quite different.

With asthma, the source says people are commonly diagnosed as children. While the onset of COPD tends to be in “adults over the age of 40 who are current or former smokers.”

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