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Asthma and Emphysema: The difference

Asthma is an inflammatory illness of the airways of the lungs that causes a reversible blockage owing to spasmodic constriction of the airways. Emphysema is a lung illness that affects the lung’s alveoli (air sacs) near the terminal end of the bronchi. Since emphysema is caused by the death of these air sacs in the lungs, it is a progressive and ultimately fatal disease.

In this article, you will learn about the differences between Asthma & Emphysema.

Define Asthma

When you have asthma, your airways become inflamed and narrowed, and you may even start producing additional mucus to compensate. This may lead to wheezing, shortness of breath, and coughing as well as other breathing difficulties.

Define Emphysema

Constantly feeling breathless is a symptom of emphysema, a disease of the lungs. The alveoli, or air sacs, in the lungs are destroyed in people with emphysema. The inner walls of the air sacs weaken and rupture with use, resulting in fewer, bigger air gaps. That means less oxygen is getting into your blood since your lungs can’t expand to take in as much air. Damaged alveoli prevent the normal release of expired air, trapping it and preventing the entry of new, oxygen-rich air during inspiration.

Asthma Symptoms

Some people with asthma only have symptoms occasionally, while others experience them constantly or just during particular activities, like exercise.

Among the many symptoms of asthma are:

  • Experiencing difficulty breathing
  • Discomfort or pain in the chest
  • Sleep disturbances due to coughing, wheezing or breathlessness
  • Attacks of coughing or wheezing brought on by a cold or the flu
  • Children often exhibit wheezing while exhaling, which is an indication of asthma

Emphysema Symptoms

Emphysema is a condition that often goes undiagnosed for a long time. Emphysema’s primary symptom is chronic, progressive shortness of breath.

Asthma Cause

Experts haven’t pinpointed a clear cause for why some individuals get asthma while others never have symptoms.

  1. Environmental example:
  • Pollen
  • Dust mites
  • Mould
  • Pet hair
  • Respiratory infections
  • Physical activity
  • Cold air
  • Smoke
  1. Medicinal example:
  • Beta-blockers
  • Aspirin
  • Stress
  • Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
  • The preservatives and sulfites that are added to various foods and drinks

Emphysema Cause

Asthma and Emphysema

Prolonged exposure to airborne irritants is the leading cause of emphysema,  such as those listed below:

  • Cigarette smoke
  • A puff of marijuana smoke
  • Contamination of the Air
  • The stench of chemicals and the clatter of dust

Risk Factors

The risks of having Asthma and Emphysema can be avoided by following precautions. A few examples of risks are as follows:

  • A blood relative suffers from asthma
  • Allergic condition
  • Heavyweight
  • Smoking
  • Secondhand smoke is a health risk that many people ignore.
  • Pollution from vehicle emissions or other sources
  • Exposure to pollution
  • Exposure to chemicals used in farming, manufacturing, etc

Asthma Treatment

Asthma episodes may be avoided if proper preventative measures and long-term management are used. Learning to identify your triggers and adopting preventative measures, as well as maintaining a breathing log to ensure your meds are effectively managing your symptoms, are common components of treatment. A quick-relief inhaler should be kept on hand in case of an asthma attack.

  1. Medications

Several factors, including your age, symptoms, asthma triggers, and what works best to keep your asthma under control, will determine which treatments are best for you.

Take the following as an illustration:

  • Inhaled corticosteroids
  • Leukotriene modifiers
  • Combination inhalers
  • Theophylline

For quick relief from the symptoms of an asthma attack, quick-relief (rescue) drugs may be used as required. Also, if your doctor prescribes them, you may take them before you work out to maximize your performance. Order these medicines online through PocketPills. For instance:

  • Inhaled corticosteroids
  • Leukotriene modifiers
  • Combination inhalers
  • Theophylline

If your asthma is worsened or induced by allergies, antihistamines may assist. For instance:

  • Allergy shots (immunotherapy)
  • Biologics
  1. Bronchial Thermoplasty

When inhaled corticosteroids or other long-term asthma treatments fail to alleviate severe asthma, this therapy is an option. They don’t have it at every store, and it’s not the best option for everyone.

Emphysema Treatment

Although emphysema and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) cannot be cured, they can be managed.

  1. Medications

Your doctor may prescribe you:

  • Bronchodilators

Coughing, shortness of breath, and other breathing difficulties may be alleviated by using these medications, which work by opening up the airways.

  • Inhaled Steroids

Aerosolized corticosteroid medications may decrease inflammation and provide some relief from shortness of breath.

  • Antibiotics

If you have a bacterial illness, such as acute bronchitis or pneumonia, it is recommended to take antibiotics.

  1. Therapy

Some therapy options that help manage Emphysema are as follows:

  • Pulmonary Rehabilitation

Breathing exercises and strategies taught in a pulmonary rehabilitation program may help you feel less out of breath during physical activity.

  • Nutritional Counselling

Healthy eating tips will also be provided. Those persons with emphysema in its early stages need to lose weight, whereas many with the advanced disease typically need to gain weight.

  • Oxygen Supplementation

Regular use of oxygen at home and during exercise may help those with severe emphysema and low blood oxygen levels. Numerous individuals rely on oxygen continuously. In most cases, it is inserted into the nostrils through a thin tube.

  1. Surgery

Your doctor may recommend surgery for emphysema, and the specific procedure(s) will depend on the severity of your condition.

  • Lung Volume Reduction Surgery

The surgical method involves the removal of tiny wedges of diseased lung tissue. When infected tissue is removed from the lungs, the healthy lung tissue can expand and function more normally, which in turn improves breathing.

  • Lung Transplant

If you have serious lung disease and nothing else is working, a lung transplant may be a possibility for you.

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Asthma and Emphysema: The difference