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Asthma

COPD and asthma

06/16/2008

Question:

I have had asthma for 30 years and COPD for 3 years. I would like to know how the long term of the asthma breathing techniques and lung capacity I have gained over the years effect the breathing tests that the doctors are useing now to treat my COPD? I have been at my specilists haveing difficulty breathing and still can top out a peak flow meter. When I asked about this he said that it was probebly from the years of trying to breathe and that my lung capacity is probebly very high. What kinds of tests have been conducted regaurding the issuse and where can I find the resaults if any?

Answer:

People with asthma can have normal lung function as measured by spirometry or peak flows but still have trouble breathing. To fully assess your asthma condition, a provocation (challenge) test to methacholine is warranted to see if you have airway hyperresponsiveness, a central feature of asthma. If this test is positive, then is likely you have asthma. Asthma can be difficult to distinguish between COPD and sometimes there is overlap. It is important to differentiate between asthma and COPD because the treatments and prognosis are different.

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Response by:

Jonathan   Bernstein, MD Jonathan Bernstein, MD
Associate Professor of Medicine
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati