Do I have asthma? Getting a diagnosis

1) Do I have asthma?







Chest tightness

Tight chest

Asthma is an inflammation of airways or breathing passages in your lungs.

The main symptoms of asthma are:

  • Wheeze
  • Cough
  • Breathlessness
  • Tightness in chest

There are other factors which can influence these symptoms.

Q. What is the difference between asthma and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)?

A. The main difference between asthma and COPD is that asthma is usually reversible. With treatment a person with asthma can have near-normal lung function and be free of symptoms between episodes / flare-ups. Asthmatic episodes with wheezing, shortness of breath, chest tightness and cough will often have triggers that can be easily identified. These triggers can be seasonal or other allergens, airborne irritants such as smoke or dust, strong odours or chemicals, cold air or exercise.

COPD is characterised by airflow obstruction that is only partially reversible, or completely non-reversible.  People with partial reversibility don’t usually experience the same level of improvement with medications as those with asthma. A person with COPD will always have a lung function result lower than normal, even when not sick with an episode / flare-up (exacerbation).  As indicated by the name, COPD is a chronic disease. It is always there even when you’re feeling well and it does not go away.