Asthma is a common condition affecting between 8% to 10%. It is characterised by episodic symptoms of cough, wheezing, breathlessness and chest tightness. Patients with asthma usually have at least one of these symptoms but these symptoms are very variable. The intensity varies on a daily basis and at times patients with asthma will feel completely normal and at other times may be very symptomatic. The symptoms may be flared up by viral or bacterial infections and by exposure to allergens. Common allergens at home include house dust mite, cat dander, and dog hair. Seasonal symptoms may be caused by allergies to grass pollen, tree pollen or moulds.
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is characterized by persistent respiratory symptoms and airflow limitation that is due to airway and / or alveolar abnormalities usually caused by significant exposure to noxious particles or gases. The main cause of COPD is cigarette smoking . Some occupational exposures may also lead to COPD. Globally exposure to high levels of smoke from indoor cooking with fuels such as charcoal may also lead to COPD. The symptoms of COPD comprise os cough, sputum production breathlessness, and wheeze. COPD consists of a group of conditions such as chronic bronchitis, chronic airflow obstruction and emphysema.
This is defined as a cough with sputum production on most days for three months over two consecutive years. Typical patients have a cough with thick tenacious that they produce daily (usually in the mornings).
The predominant cause is cigarette smoking but exposure to smoke from a fire, burning coal fuels in a confined space and noxious chemicals like sulphur gases can also lead to bronchitis. Mucus is usually made in the airways as part of our defence mechanism. In bronchitis there seems to be an over production of mucus