Tag Archives: COPD

Asthma Vs Chronic Bronchitis

We took a look at acute bronchitis in our last post. Next up is chronic bronchitis, which is characterized by a mucus-producing cough and related symptoms that last longer than 3 months. In cases of chronic bronchitis, inflammation of the respiratory tract is persistent and never resolves itself completely. Over 80% of cases are caused by smoking or long-term second hand exposure to smoke. In other cases, long-term exposure to chemical irritants or heavy pollution may cause chronic bronchitis (which is a subtype of COPD).

What are the symptoms of bronchitis?

  • Wheezing
  • Shortness of breath or tightness in chest
  • A dry or productive cough
  • Excess mucus production
  • Feeling of general malaise
  • Mild chills or fever
  • Headache
  • Fatigue

Is it Bronchitis or Asthma?

If you seem to continually get bouts of acute bronchitis, there may be more at the heart of the matter. Often people who are diagnosed with bronchitis several times a year actually have asthma (or a COPD-related condition). There are different types of asthma such as exercise induced, allergic-asthma and seasonal asthma, all of which produce symptoms that can mimic bronchitis. Because asthma also causes excess mucus and swelling (of the muscles surrounding the bronchial tract), flare-ups can be easily mistaken for acute bronchitis.

Asthmatic Bronchitis

Alternately, it is very possible to experience both conditions simultaneously. Asthmatics are prone to a special type or bronchitis called asthmatic bronchitis. This happens when the lining of the airways is swollen (bronchitis), along with the muscles surrounding the airways (asthma). This double respiratory whammy can be very serious and is often treated with steroids. Asthmatic bronchitis is typically not contagious (unless it was initially caused by a virus).

What is the Difference Between Chronic Bronchitis and Asthma?

While both chronic bronchitis and asthma are chronic conditions of the respiratory system that involve swelling, chest tightness, coughing and shortness of breath, they do have some marked differences as well:

  1. Asthmatics typically experience more symptoms in the night times such as wheezing and chest tightness, while COPD sufferers have a characteristic morning cough that produces sputum.
  2. Asthmatics commonly have related allergies and sensitivities that sometimes act as triggers for asthma attacks, whereas chronic bronchitis is most often associated with long-term exposure to harmful chemicals.
  3. While doctors may prescribe some similar puffers to help control both conditions, treatment can be quite different.
  4. The most notable difference between the two conditions is the prognosis. Generally speaking, asthma is more controllable and does less damage than COPD-related conditions like chronic bronchitis. Chronic bronchitis is more of a progressive disease that can leave destruction of the lungs in its wake. When a person has an asthma attack, the structures of the lungs return to normal with treatment. However, the lungs of a person with COPD may keep deteriorating slowly.

Both conditions require long-term maintenance and follow-up to ensure the treatment plan in place is still effective. Our DocChat physicians are standing by 24/7/365 to provide any assistance you may need. Thanks for visiting!




COPD – Get The Facts

COPD is a serious and misunderstood chronic lung condition. It is one of America’s stealthiest top killers, even though many people are hardly aware of the facts. COPD is serious business, and everyone should be aware of the early signs. Let’s take a gander at some of the facts:

  • Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) refers to a few progressive (and life-threatening) lung conditions such as emphysema, chronic bronchitis and refractory asthmatics (symptoms never go away).
  • People with COPD have a hard time breathing because their airways lose elasticity, scarring destroy airway walls, or too much mucus is produced which clogs the airways.
  • It is also a leading cause of disability.
  • At least 11 million Americans are afflicted with COPD (the numbers are likely much higher is it is underdiagnosed).
  • Every hour approximately 250,000 people worldwide will die of COPD.
  • More women die of COPD than men, largely because of misdiagnosis but it appears estrogen plays a role as well.
  • COPD often affects those in their 50’s and 60’s, but younger people can also have COPD.
  • Many people aren’t diagnosed until their disease is in the advanced stages. Know the early warning signs: chronic coughing, shortness of breath, blueish lips or fingernails, chronic wheezing, chest tightness, fatigue and frequent bouts of bronchitis.
  • While the main cause of COPD is smoking and inhaling smoke, not everyone who has the disease is a former smoker. Inhaling environment pollutants over a long term (such as at a hazardous job) and genetics can also cause COPD.
  • If you have COPD, ask your doctor to screen you for the Alpha-1 Antitrypsin Deficiency AATD gene, as it may help shed light on how severe your lung disease is or will likely become.
  • The best way to prevent COPD is not to smoke or be around second hand smoke, and to quit if you are already a smoker.
  • There is no cure for COPD, but it is a highly treatable condition if it is caught early enough. Many of the same medications that asthmatics take help COPD sufferers, as well as corticosteroids or oxygen therapy.
  • Early screening can catch COPD before too much damage is done, so the condition can be treated to help slow its progression. Doctors can screen for COPD with a simple spirometry test in their office. Ask your doctor about COPD screening today.

If you have been experiencing some of the symptoms we listed, do not ignore them. Make an appointment today to see your doctor (of one of ours!) to get screened for COPD. Thanks for visiting, we hope you’ll be back again soon!


3 Common Chronic Diseases Better Treated Via Telemedicine

Telemedicine is a highly cost-effective option when it comes to managing diseases. It has become an increasingly important option and has been received with open arms by all. The increased interest is due to the fact that in recent years, technology has become cheaper and more universal.

Telemedicine is for everyone, including patients that are suffering from chronic conditions.

Most chronic conditions are difficult to manage; they need frequent monitoring of the patient’s health. This aspect has made controlling chronic conditions difficult for doctors and patients. Telemedicine is a wonderful solution to this problem.

1. Congestive Heart Failure (CHF)

Congestive heart failure is a weakening of the heart and its blood supply mechanism. Diseases that cause heart failure are varied. The most common causes are:
● Artery diseases–Coronary artery disease (CAD)
● Artery blockages-Heart attacks
● Damaged heart muscles
● High blood pressure

Limitations of Traditional Management Methods
Traditional management methods have been less effective when it comes to encouraging an active patient role in the treatment. The incidences of people with CHF requiring re-hospitalization are high. This also results in a high mortality rate for people who have suffered from heart failure. Patient empowerment in this area is important.

How Telemedicine Can Help Manage CHF
Home-monitoring devices can be used by doctors to remotely gather vital patient data, such as

● Weight
● Blood pressure
● Heart rate
● Oxygen saturation levels

Other advanced devices can also help monitor patient data:

● Some devices can transmit ECG (Electrocardiogram) data
● Sounds using an electronic stethoscope
● Videoconferencing for direct interviews

This data is collated, analyzed, and provided to the doctor.

2. Stroke or Cerebral Vascular Accident (CVA)

Limitations of Traditional Methods
Traditional methods of following up with stroke patients have a high cost burden. Strokes are a time-critical condition; brain damage can result within minutes since blood flow is blocked. Prompt and proper treatment is critical.

How Telemedicine Can Help Stroke Suffers
Telestroke systems exist which help connect experts with each other via electronic means. This existing network can be improved via telemedicine. Additional benefits include:

● Rapid diagnosis
● Treatment can be supervised by specialists remotely
● Quicker administration of tissue plasminogen activator (tPA)

3. Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)
COPD is a group term for lung diseases that are serious and progress over time. The most common are emphysema, chronic bronchitis,

Limitations of Traditional Methods
COPD management is more effective when lung health is frequently monitored.

How Telemedicine Can Help COPD Patients
Telemedicine can help patients and doctors by making frequent, remote measurements of lung health using

● Telespirometry
● Teleconsultations with pulmonologists
● Web-based patient education systems can help COPD sufferers self-manage and monitor symptoms.

One study explored the benefits of a telemedicine system designed for COPD patients. The results of the study showed that the intervention was successful and effective. The approach combines 4 areas:

1. Real-time ambulant activity coach
2. A web portal for self-treatment of exacerbations
3. An online exercise program
4. Teleconsultation

Encouraging the patient to take an active role in disease management can reduce mortality rates and improve health. Frequent communication between the doctor and the patient can help identify a problem before it gets worse. Telemedicine also helps in making treatment processes more transparent and lowers hospital costs.