Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and bronchiectasis are two chronic lung conditions that often co-exist in patients. The two diseases share many similarities but there are some important differences between them.
COPD is actually a range of different lung diseases whereby patients find it difficult to exhale air from the lungs. Bronchiectasis is different in that the disease is characterized by the enlargement of the airways in the lungs called bronchi. Both diseases can lead to difficulty breathing, a chronic cough and an overproduction of mucus.
The two diseases are brought on by different causes: COPD tends to be the result of smoking and other environmental factors whereas bronchiectasis is usually due to an infection or complications following a lung transplant.
Although the two diseases share many symptoms, they need to be treated differently, and separately if a patient has both conditions. COPD can be treated with anti-inflammatory drugs, such as corticosteroid inhalers but bronchiectasis is treated with antibiotics to cure the infections. Find out more about the similarities and differences between bronchiectasis and COPD here.
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