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Distinguishing asthma from COPD in primary care settings

Differentiating asthma from COPD involves careful history taking and
assessment, writes
Beverley Bostock-Cox

Two of the most common conditions seen in general practice are asthma and COPD. Although both conditions are treated with inhaled medication, the doses and types of treatment used vary for each condition and some inhaled therapies are licensed for use in asthma or COPD, but not both.

In this article, we will discuss how to recognise the difference between asthma and COPD through careful history taking and assessment.

Case study: Binny, age 23
Binny is studying for her finals at university. She is experiencing a tight chest and cough, which is worse at night and on exercising. She thinks this is stress-related and wants advice about how to reduce her stress levels.

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