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COPD diagnosed during an asthma attack. What are the symptoms should I watch out for?

I have ashma, but when I went to the ER to get a breathing treatment my discharge papers said I have COPD . either way I need to breathe and dont know what to do. I took my inhaler four times in about two or three hours and still have a hard time breathing. My inhaler is empty now, but I found an old one dated 06/2009. I am going to use it because I really need to breath. I dont know if this is okay or not, but are there symptoms I should watch for other than being shakey?
Asked On : Thu, 4 Apr 2013
Answers:  2 Views:  29
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Pulmonologist 's  Response
Hi amylisa
thanks for coming to HCM
the basic difference between Asthma and COPD are their symptomatology and pathophysiology.
Asthma is a reversible disease with variable symptoms usually with a HISTORY OF ALLERGY while COPD has got persistent symptoms, irreversible disease and usually in elderly, associated with smoking.
Longstanding asthma may lead to airway remodelling leading to COPD.
The diagnosis can be made by a simple breathing test called spirometry where reversibility can be shown for asthma.

regarding your symptoms, it seems to be acute exacerbation of either asthma or COPD.
If inhaled medication are not working you may increase their frequeny, you can take combinations of short acting drugs like salbutamol and ipratropium. and you may take a short course of steroid like prednisolone 40 mg once a day at breakfast for 10 days....

meet your doctor if not responding...
best wishes
Answered: Fri, 5 Apr 2013
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General & Family Physician Dr. Saloni Shah's  Response
you should avoid using inhaler that is gone past expiry date. You must go to ER as you may need nebuliser therapy. Also it means that your asthma is not well controlled which is an indication to up the dose / change the medication in inhaler therapy
Answered: Thu, 4 Apr 2013
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