Monthly Archives: May 2020

What Is Asthma-COPD Overlap?

Asthma-COPD overlap, also known as ACO, “happens when you have symptoms of both asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)”. In order to understand this form of asthma, one must first have a firm understanding of Asthma and COPD separately. The reason why is because these diagnoses are two different things. Asthma is “a condition in which a person’s airways become inflamed, narrow and swell, and produce extra mucus, which makes it difficult to breath” while COPD is “a group of lung diseases that block airflow and make it difficult to breathe.”

When these two conditions are put together, and one begins to experience asthma-COPD overlap, it makes it a whole lot harder for him/her to be able to breathe. The two correlate because having asthma can eventually lead to COPD if one is not careful – and/or doesn’t already have it. The causes for it are also similar to asthma because “long-term exposure to other lung irritants – such as air pollution, chemical fumes, or dust – also may contribute to COPD.” This includes cigarettes and other such things.

But even though the causes for both are closely related, the symptoms may differ in some areas. Those who have COPD may experience “having to clear their throat first thing in the morning, due to excess mucus in their lungs, a chronic cough that may produce mucus that may be clear, white, yellow, or greenish, blueness of the lips or fingernail beds, frequent respiratory infections, lack of energy, unintended weight loss; swelling in ankles, feet or legs.”

Fortunately, there are ways to help the person feel less discomfort than they would without treatment. One of the options is through a bronchodilator which is “a drug that causes widening of the bronchi.” This, in other words, helps the person to breathe a whole lot better by the expanding of airways. Such medicine is also “taken by inhalation for the alleviation of asthma.” Steroids are also an option along with other things such as oxygen therapy which “provides extra oxygen to the lungs.”           

In conclusion, it’s possible for those who are faced with an asthma-COPD overlap to receive treatment and experience some sense of normalcy as treatment ensues. This can help them to learn how to better cope with their condition, while still being able to enjoy their everyday lives without struggling to breathe as much in their normal day-to-day activities. In turn, it’s always important for one to seek out the help of a medical professional so that further action can be taken to not only ensure his/her safety, but better his/her lung health.