British Lung Foundation
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I am

Hi All

I would appreciate your thoughts please

In October I had a Spirometry test and I was told I had COPD stage 2, I was put on inhalers and November inhalers was changed.

I had to go back to the Nurse today for a review on how I was getting on (couldn't get into to see the Nurse who saw me last time which I was suppose to he was fully booked so booked in with another nurse). She looked through my records etc asked a few questions and then said I hadn't got COPD, I said I had the tests and previous nurse said I had.

This Nurse thinks it it Asthma and I probably had it as a child but not much was done about it through lack of knowledge etc when I was young.

She said it will be a while before they know which it is. I go back to see my Doc tomorrow, I am not sure whether to say anything to her or not, and in a months time I go back to see the Nurse, do I go back to the first one I saw to see what he says

Is Copd and Asthma similar!!!!

12 Replies

Differentiating Asthma from COPD:


Hi Chrissie, COPD & asthma are quite similar but there are tests your GP can do to determine which you have.

Some members here have both COPD & asthma.

Obviously you need to get a proper diagnosis.

I would tell your GP tomorrow about what the nurse says. He should be able to advise you.

Wonder why the nurse said it would be a while before they knew what you had?

Have you been offered an X-ray or scan?

Hope you get some answers soon. 🌹

1 like

Hi Jessy

The 1st nurse gave me the Spirometry test, after that I had a mask to inhale something, then had to wait outside for 30 mins and do the test again thats when I was told I had copd stage 2.

This Nurse said after the mask bit my lungs were showing ok....she asked if I had a tightening across my chest at any time, which I said I had....that was before the test when my cough was really bad


The inhale and wait is to see how the reliever has worked. I have RLD and showed no difference when I had mine. I also have brittle asthma but that is not the one that affects me the most. So if the inhaler works it was the asthma but if not it is the RLD that gets me SOB. I usually tell by the tightness position?

It is a lot of the time on how they interpret the tests. The hospital one gave same result but they also tested me lying flat and that showed a 12% lower lung function.

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Hi Jessy 11

The Nurse asked me if I woke up coughing in the night, and I said yes, but perhaps I should have said no, I don't often wake up, when I do it is because I need to go to the loo, or I am cold, hence some times cough, but it isn't the cough that wakes me.

I had a chest x-ray before the test at the Docs which showed that my lungs where enlarged thats when the Doc arranged the tests


Hi Chrissie, I hope you get a proper diagnosis soon. That way you can be prescribed the correct inhalers etc.

It will also give you peace of mind & you can get on with your life.

Take care 💐

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Hi Chrissie,

Copd is an umbrella term which covers emphysema (damage to the alveoli, air sacs at the end of your airways), chronic bronchitis (damage to the bronchi, major airways into the lungs), some kinds of asthma (inflammation which narrows the airways and is partly or wholly reversible with treatment).

In copd the damage is permanent and not reversible, though people can improve their functioning with lifestyle changes like exercise.

What I would say to the GP is how come one nurse is telling you one thing, and the other is telling you something else; how come your moderate stage 2 copd has now become asthma. Sometimes there is overlap and some people have both.

Can you take someone else with you to note down what the doctor says? Be firm and say you need some answers. More tests if necessary, or at any rate an explanation you can understand.

Good luck :)

Ps: just read your reply to Jessy.

When people have spirometry tests they often have to repeat them after inhaling some bronchodilator. They want to see if the result is better after the inhalation which would show whether there is an asthma element to your condition.

If your nurse said you had stage 2 copd following the test, then the obstruction in your lungs hadn't fully reversed, making it likely or possible that there is some permanent obstruction.

But it might have partly reversed, which could show you have some asthma as well.

NB: The above is a possible answer but Im not a doctor, just another patient who has gone through the mill :) and your GP should help you with this.

1 like

Many thanks 02Trees, yes I will certainly query it with my Doctor then


You may have seen i edited my reply which hopefully makes it a bit more clear. Good luck :)

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Hello Chrissie

See your doctor today and ask why Two nurses are telling you different things. Don't move your bum off the seat until you are satisfied with his reply.

I hope you get some clarification.

Velvet xx


Same thing happened to me eight months ago. I almost began to think that perhaps doctors got more money if they diagnosed asthma instead of copd, cynical though I am! But as time has gone on, I am convinced on my part, I have copd and not asthma, or perhaps a mixture of both. I wake up with headaches often, my spirometry readings put me at 66% which implies stage 2 copd and of course I wheeze and am breathless.

I think the key thing may be time. If I go back in april, one yearafter Initial diagnosis for same tests and the readings are the same or worse,then presumably I do have copd. Alternatively if the readings are much improved then I suspect it must be asthma. Im told the key difference is that asthma is more reversible whereas copd isnt.

I smoked for over 30 years (although havent now smoked for over 10) and lived on a dual carriageway for 30 years, spending a minimum of 8 hours a week on the large garden breathing in all those diesel fumes. ....... my lungs are shot to hell whatever its called... at the end of the day, does it matter what name we give it? Just hope for the best. Good luck to you, and good health.

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Hi Kydam

Many thanks for your reply, After spirometry, Nurse said Copt stage 2, another nurse a month later said its Asthma, mentioned this to Doc who told me to see Nurse Sheila, she said it isn't Asthma but would have a word with the respiratory Doc and ring me back.

The Doc says it is more likely to be copd, they have taken me off fostair and I just keep taking the ventolin only for now to see how I go

I go back in three weeks, not sure which nurse to see now lol


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