World Asthma Day is celebrated on the first Tuesday of May every year to raise awareness about chronic respiratory diseases. This year, the day is being celebrated on May 2, 2023 (Tuesday). Asthma symptoms need to be differentiated from bronchitis or flu symptoms because the disease can be serious and difficult to control if left untreated. Acute bronchitis caused by a virus or bacteria can turn into asthma in some cases and is one of the risk factors for adults to develop chronic disease. People with asthma can also develop bronchitis, which can worsen asthma symptoms. (Also Read: World Asthma Day 2023: 5 Common Asthma Triggers During Summer)
“Bronchitis and asthma are two respiratory conditions that can cause similar symptoms but have different underlying causes. It is important to seek medical attention if you experience symptoms of respiratory distress to prevent any potential complications. Understanding the differences between these conditions is important for proper diagnosis. And treatment,” says Dr Manav Manchand, Director and Head- Respiratory, Critical Care and Sleep Medicine, Asian Hospital Faridabad.
In an interview with HT Digital, Dr Manchand shared the difference between the symptoms of bronchitis and asthma and the preventive measures for both.
Symptoms of bronchitis
While bronchitis and asthma share some similar symptoms, there are key differences between the two conditions. Bronchitis is usually caused by an infection or environmental stressors, while asthma is a chronic condition that causes the airways to become inflamed and narrow, making it difficult to breathe.
Bronchitis symptoms usually include coughing, wheezing, and shortness of breath, which can be similar to asthma symptoms. However, asthma symptoms can also include chest tightness, shortness of breath, and a feeling of tightness in the chest.
Asthma is a chronic condition that causes inflammation in the lungs and narrowing of the airways. Asthma symptoms can vary in severity and may include coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath, chest tightness and shortness of breath.
Asthma symptoms can be triggered by environmental factors such as dust, pollen, and smoke, as well as exercise, stress, and other factors.
Difference between asthma and bronchitis symptoms
Although the symptoms of bronchitis and asthma may be similar, there are some important differences.
Bronchitis is usually caused by viral infections or environmental irritants such as smoke, dust, or chemicals. Bronchitis symptoms usually improve within a few weeks with proper treatment. Asthma, on the other hand, is a chronic condition caused by inflammation of the airways in the lungs. Asthma symptoms can appear at any time and may require ongoing treatment to manage. While bronchitis can be treated with antibiotics, asthma is usually managed with long-term medications to control inflammation and prevent symptoms.
Preventive measures for bronchitis and asthma
There are many preventive measures that can help reduce the risk of developing bronchitis and asthma, as well as manage symptoms in those who have already been diagnosed.
– Avoiding environmental exposures such as smoke and pollution, practicing good hygiene such as frequent hand washing, and staying hydrated to help loosen mucus in the airways are some of the ways to stay free from bronchitis. However, asthma prevention requires avoiding triggers such as dust, pollen, and pet dander, taking prescribed medications as directed, and monitoring lung function with a peak flow meter.
– In addition, lifestyle changes such as regular exercise and a healthy diet can also help improve lung function and reduce the risk of respiratory problems.