Asthma-COPD Overlap Syndrome (ACOS)

copd vs asthma

COPD vs Asthma

COPD vs asthma is a common question as both involve breathing capability. Asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) are two of the most common obstructive airway illnesses seen by clinicians. The distinction between asthma and COPD is frequently the clearest to the clinician in the elderly. Asthma usually begins in childhood and is characterised by recurring chest tightness, cough, wheezing, and dyspnea, as well as a link to atopic illnesses. COPD usually appears later in life, is subtle, with productive cough and dyspnea as the most common symptoms and is often linked to tobacco use. Many similarities exist between asthma and COPD. They are, however, two distinct lung illnesses. When you have symptoms of both asthma and COPD, you’re diagnosed with asthma-COPD overlap syndrome (ACOS). ACOS is not a separate condition; rather, it is a strategy for doctors to evaluate the combination of symptoms and choose the best treatment plan for you.


Diagnosing COPD vs Asthma

Spirometry is needed for an accurate diagnosis of obstructive pulmonary disease and should be done at least once a year to maintain disease management and progression. Post Bronchodilator spirometry is required to evaluate whether any blockage is reversible. Spirometry can establish the presence of chronic airflow obstruction, but it can’t tell the difference between asthma with fixed airflow obstruction, COPD, and ACOS. Specialized tests, such as carbon monoxide diffusion capacity on pulmonary function testing and chest imaging, are sometimes used to differentiate between asthma and COPD. In addition, doctors may adopt a questionnaire with a series of questions to assess whether the patient has asthma, COPD, or ACOS.


Symptoms of COPD vs Asthma

  • Cough with or without sputum
  • Laboured breathing
  • Dyspnoea
  • Wheezing

Symptoms fluctuate from day to day, and flare-ups are common. There are also significant distinctions between asthma and COPD symptoms. If you just have asthma, your symptoms will vary frequently, and you will be symptom-free for an extended period. Asthma is often triggered by factors such as exercise, exposure to allergens, or a respiratory illness. Asthma can start at any age, although it is most common in children. People with asthma often have allergies and skin condition eczema. Symptoms of COPD commonly appear after the age of 40. Even with medication, symptoms can change from day to day, but they are chronic and progressive. The majority of people with COPD have a history of smoking or being exposed to smoke. ACOS has features that are similar to both COPD and asthma. People who have ACOS have persistent airway obstruction. They also have wheezing or breathing problems, which are usually treated with bronchodilators. Bronchodilators are drugs that help to open up the airway. ACOS patients also appear to be younger and have more shortness of breath than COPD patients. Since this ailment is still being researched, researchers have yet to agree on a single definition for the syndrome.


Treatment Options

Patients with chronic asthma are treated with inhaled corticosteroids (ICS), whereas patients with COPD are treated with inhaled bronchodilators (beta 2-agonists and anticholinergics). Because of the significance of ICS in preventing disease risk in people with asthma, the default stance for people with ACOS should be to start therapy with a low or moderate dose of ICS. A long-acting beta 2-agonist (LABA) could be introduced or continued if previously recommended for patients with ACOS, depending on severity. Other therapeutic methods and lifestyle changes should be considered, such as smoking cessation, lung rehabilitation, influenza and pneumococcal vaccinations, and the treatment of other concomitant illnesses. ACOS treatment aims are similar to those of asthma and COPD in that they focus on symptom management, improving health status and quality of life, and avoiding exacerbations. Although there are currently no disease-modifying medications that can alter the progression of airway obstruction in either asthma or COPD, smoking cessation is an essential component of the successful management of all obstructive airway disorders because it is a modifiable risk factor. Learn more about how our DNA test can help you. It’s considered the most advanced DNA test in Malaysia that we can provide, so we’d like to offer you our premium DNA test. You can take advantage of this offer and reap the benefits of getting a DNA test.

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