Is There A Difference Between Copd And Chronic Bronchitis?


Asked by Jonathan

Is There A Difference Between Copd And Chronic Bronchitis?

I am a smoker (46 years) and was recently diagnosed (by a Pulmonologist) as having chronic bronchitis. I am on a steroidal inhaler. Is there a difference between COPD and Chronic Bronchitis? If so, what is the difference?


Chronic bronchitis and emphysema are 2 different types of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD for short). Although very closely related, they are separate conditions. The biggest risk factor for both, though, is long-term tobacco smoking.

The primary symptom of emphysema is shortness of breath, caused by destruction of the tiny air sacs, called alveoli, in the bottom of your airways. This part of the lungs is where oxygen is transferred to the bloodstream. When that transfer can't happen efficiently, you begin to have difficulty breathing and to get tired very easily.

Chronic bronchitis' most common symptoms is a chronic cough that produces thick, smelly mucus in such large amounts that your airways cannot adequately expel it, leading to frequent respiratory infections. There may also be shortness of breath.

Both conditions are treated in a similar fashion. Quitting smoking is the best first step. Medicines can include bronchodilators, anti-inflammatories (steroids), and supplemental oxygen. There may also be lifestyle changes that are needed.

I hope that answers your question, but if not, feel free to comment back and I'll try to provide more information.

To your health,


Answered by Kathi MacNaughton