Asthma vs COPD: 6 Ways to Tell the Difference

2. Causes

The exact cause of asthma is still unknown to medical professionals, although they suspect that it may be due to both genetic and environmental factors. These environmental factors can include exposure to triggers such as pollen, dust, mold, and smoke.

With COPD, however, EverydayHealth.com says the cause “is much more clear-cut.” Smoking is far and away the primary reason people develop the disease, and is “attributed to about 85 to 90 percent of all COPD deaths.” The source adds that exposure to air pollution, certain chemicals, and secondhand smoke can also be responsible. As can a genetic defect known as alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency (AAT), but only in approximately 2 to 3 percent of diagnoses.

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