In addition to the lung diseases that come under the COPD umbrella there are other lung conditions that commonly co-exist with COPD. These include: asthma, bronchiectasis and interstitial lung disease. These are briefly explained below.
Asthma is a condition of chronic swelling of the breathing tubes or airways. There are many factors that can trigger an asthma attack including infection, exercise and environmental factors, such as cold air or pollens.
Swelling of the airway wall and tightening of the muscles around the airway results in the narrowing of the breathing tubes (bronchi and bronchioles). Wheeze, chest tightness, breathlessness and cough are classic symptoms of asthma.
The swelling may produce an obstruction of the breathing tubes or airways, similar to COPD. Some people have both COPD and asthma.
Asthma is often believed to be a disease that affects children and young adults. However, asthma is found in all age groups.
During an asthma attack, the breathing tubes or airways become inflamed, swollen and blocked with sticky sputum (as shown in the previous diagram). This makes breathing more difficult. For more information on asthma visit Asthma Australia or call 1800 278 462.