Asthma and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) are two very common diseases of the lung. COPD includes chronic bronchitis and emphysema.1
Asthma is characterised by hyper-responsiveness of the airways resulting in bronchospasm, which is excessive contraction or temporary collapse of the airways. Asthma episodes may last only a few minutes but more severe ones can last from hours to days.
Chronic bronchitis is inflammation (swelling) and irritation of the airways. The irritation causes mucus to build up and the swelling of the airways makes it harder to breath. Typical symptoms are coughing and possibly wheezing and whistling or squeaky sounds during breathing. It is not uncommon for the coughing to last months.
Emphysema is a type of COPD where destruction of lung tissue is a core element. Symptoms are continuous and include difficulty to exhale and a feeling of breath holding. See more details in the “About severe Emphysema” section on this website.
Some patients suffer from a combination of chronic bronchitis, emphysema and asthma. These overlapping diseases are referred to as asthma-COPD overlap syndrome or ACOS for short.2