It can be concerning when you develop a chronic cough, wheezing, or shortness of breath. Especially if you are a current or former smoker or if you have a family history of lung disease or cancer, you should see a doctor for these symptoms to get a diagnosis. Searching your symptoms online may not be helpful because COPD has several symptoms in common with asthma.
Similarities in Symptoms
COPD and asthma have several symptoms in common. A worsening cough and shortness of breath can occur with either condition. You may also experience wheezing or a scratchy or whistling sound when you breathe.
There are some symptoms that relate more frequently to COPD than asthma. Fatigue is a symptom associated with COPD, but asthma can interrupt sleep making you feel fatigued as well. A chronic cough is a symptom of both asthma and COPD. But when the cough is accompanied by yellow phlegm, it is more suggestive of COPD. Respiratory infections can occur in patients with both asthma and COPD, but may be more common and frequent in COPD patients.
Getting a Diagnosis
There are several tests that your allergist may want to run to determine the cause of your symptoms. Spirometry (a lung function test), in conjunction with a thorough history and physical exam, is usually the best way to make a diagnosis of asthma or COPD. Your doctor may also order chest imaging or allergy testing to help with diagnosis and treatment. . Only an expert in the field, such as an allergist, will be able to give you the most accurate diagnosis with the least amount of testing and cost.
If you suspect that you have asthma or COPD or if you are having another breathing issue, contact us today to schedule an appointment.