Asthma or Bronchitis? Understand the Signs and Differences
Asthma and bronchitis have the same symptoms, but the symptoms came from different causes. Airways in both asthma and bronchitis become inflamed; making it harder for the patient to grasp air. Because of that, less oxygen gets out to the organs. Also, it can cause breathing issues such as non-stop coughing, shortness of breath, and chest tightness.
For example, viruses and other environmental pollution can cause bronchitis. On the other hand, genetics and environmental triggers such as dust and pollen can trigger asthma.
Below are the differences and symptoms between asthma and bronchitis:
Symptoms: Asthma and Bronchitis
People who suffer from asthma or bronchitis may experience these symptoms:
- Whistling sound when breathing
- Shortness of breath
- Tightness in the chest
- Non-stop coughing.
If you suffer from bronchitis, most likely you’ll have a thick mucus when coughing. The mucus color can be clear, green, or yellow.
Acute bronchitis may also have these symptoms:
- Fever with body temperature ranging from 37.7°C up to 38.8°C
- Body aches
Patients with acute bronchitis might feel chest tightness, wheezing, continuous coughing, but will go away after a few weeks or until the infection treated.
On the other hand, symptoms of asthma may come and go depending on the triggering factors. Some people may trigger by exercise, allergies, or dust.
Causes of Asthma and Bronchitis
Physicians don’t know the exact causes of asthma. According to experts, it can be a combination of genes and the environment. The genes you gained from your parents can make your airways sensitive or allergic to particular things or events such as smoke, pet dander, dust, or pollen.
Moreover, you’re more likely to acquire asthma if:
- Your parents also have asthma or allergies
- You have skin allergies or conditions
- You are exposed to chemicals or dust at your work
- You smoke a lot, or you’re with someone who smokes
- You had a lot of upper respiratory infections when you’re young.
Sometimes, the environment can also trigger asthmatic people. These triggering factors are:
- Changes in weather
- Pet dander
- Chemical gases
- Colds, cough, and other infections.
On the other hand, bronchitis might be acute or chronic. Causes of acute bronchitis are viruses or bacteria. But chronic bronchitis is triggered by the following:
- Tobacco smoke
- Air pollution
- Chemical fumes or gases.
These triggering factors can irritate airways, which makes it harder to breathe. Also, you’re most likely to acquire bronchitis if you:
- Smoke cigarettes
- Exposed to someone who always smokes
- Have a weaker immune system which can make you acquire infections
- Working in an industry that produces toxic chemicals and gases
- Above 45 years of age.
Diagnosis of Asthma and Bronchitis
If you’re coughing non-stop or you have wheezing sound every time you breathe or cough, and the symptoms are persistent, see a doctor right away in any Cranbourne medical centre. Ask for a pulmonologist. It is a doctor who specializes in treating asthma and other diseases that are connected with the lungs. The pulmonologist will gather all the clues from your symptoms to know which condition you have.
Your doctor will conduct some physical tests like listening to your lungs using a stethoscope. Also, you may undergo some of these tests to check if you have bronchitis or asthma:
- Chest X-ray
- Sputum Tests.
Moreover, allergies can also be a cause of asthma. You may need to see an allergist test your blood and skin. These tests can determine what could be the exact substance that triggers your asthma.