Is it bronchitis or asthma?

Asthma and bronchitis are respiratory conditions that can cause airway irritation, inflammation, and coughing. Sometimes, people mistake bronchitis for asthma and vice versa.Knowing how the two conditions can present themselves is essential, as the treatments people may need are different.
Symptoms of asthma vs. bronchitis
A cough and shortness of breath are symptoms of both asthma and bronchitis.Asthma and bronchitis both have a cough as one of the most common symptoms.Therefore, a doctor will often look for other symptoms of each condition when trying to decide the one a person may have.

Bronchitis symptoms include:

  • a chill
  • general malaise
  • a headache
  • a productive cough with mucus that is white, green, or yellow
  • shortness of breath
  • soreness or tightness in the chest

Sometimes, people who have symptoms that include coughing, wheezing, and shortness of breath think they are having a bout of bronchitis when they actually have asthma.Asthma causes the airways to become inflamed and narrower than usual. People often find they cannot breathe because asthma narrows the airways.

The most common asthma symptoms include:

  • coughing
  • shortness of breath
  • wheezing

People will usually notice symptoms are worse at night or first thing in the morning. People may also notice their asthma symptoms are especially bad after they have experienced certain triggers, such as cigarette smoke, exercise, or pollen.



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