Difference Between Asthma and Emphysema

Asthma and Emphysema are both lung diseases that impact the breathing process. It’s common to confuse the two, but they are very different even though they are both painful.

While they may both be respiratory conditions, it’s important to know the differences between them so you can treat yourself or someone you love properly.

Asthma vs Emphysema

The main difference between Asthma and Emphysema is that Asthma, although chronic, is reversible and can be treated to remove all symptoms, while Emphysema is a progressive disease. It worsens with time, and usually, the symptoms are not removed completely even with treatment.

Asthma and Emphysema

Asthma is a lung disorder characterized by inflammation and narrowing of the airways. The symptoms of Asthma are wheezing, coughing, and shortness of breath.

In addition, people with Asthma have inflammation, swelling, and mucus in their airways. When the airways are inflamed, they become narrow, and leaking mucus causes swelling.

Emphysema is a chronic, progressive disease. It is a lung disorder that makes it difficult to breathe.

It happens when your lungs do not have enough elasticity to inflate or deflate with ease. The lungs are then unable to process oxygen the way that they should be.

It is important to get your lungs checked regularly so you can be on the lookout for any early signs of the disease!

Comparison Table Between Asthma and Emphysema

Parameters of ComparisonAsthmaEmphysema
CauseAsthma is caused by inflammatory reactions due to allergies of the air passageways.Emphysema is caused by damage to the passages and alveoli making it difficult to breathe.
SymptomsWheezing and shortness of breath are the most common symptoms.Coughing and tightness of the chest are the most common symptoms.
TreatmentTreatment of asthma is done by providing inhalers to the patients or other corticosteroids.Treatment of Emphysema is done by providing the patients with any sort of Bronchodilators.
Age Group SusceptibleAsthma can occur in patients of all age groups.Emphysema is more common in people above the age of 40.
HereditaryAsthma has a 50% chance of being hereditary.Emphysema has very little chance of hereditary as it depends more on environmental factors.

What is Asthma?

Asthma is a condition where your airways are inflamed. The common symptoms are wheezing, coughing, and tightness of the chest.

Asthma is treated by avoiding irritants causing Asthma, taking medication, or breathing in steam. Asthma is common in children.

If you suffer from Asthma, you should see a doctor. You can prevent Asthma by avoiding what triggers your Asthma. If you want to know more, see an asthma specialist.

Asthma has been a commonly misunderstood disease throughout history. While there is no cure yet, there are treatments that can help.

Asthma is a chronic disease that causes the airways of the lungs to become inflamed and tighten up. The main cause of this is allergies. The common triggers of an Asthma Attack are:

  • Allergens
  • Infections
  • Exercise
  • Stress
  • Cold air
  • Certain medicines

Asthma is a disease that affects a large number of people. People suffering from Asthma can have all sorts of reactions to the disease.

It can worsen their condition or even cause them to be hospitalized. It is essential to prevent yourself from suffering from Asthma. It is also important to recognize the signs of Asthma.

The only way to alleviate this is to use an inhaler. If these don’t work, your doctor may prescribe you an oral steroid. Asthma can be scary, but with the right treatment, you can live a normal life!

 Depending on the severity of the disease, people suffering from Asthma can get relief from Asthma with antispasmodics, bronchodilators or steroids. These medications serve to relax the airways in the lungs.

What is Emphysema?

Emphysema is a chronic respiratory disease. Emphysema is also known as COPD or hypersensitivity pneumonitis.

It happens when the air sacs in the lungs become damaged, and the walls between the air sacs and tissues surrounding them grow and thicken and cause the space inside the lungs to be smaller.

Emphysema is a serious condition and can be life-threatening. If you suspect you have Emphysema, it is important to seek medical help as soon as possible.

It is caused by long exposure to harmful substances like tobacco smoke, air pollution. It weakens the walls of the alveoli (air sacs) in the lungs.

Cigarette smoking is one of the leading causes of Emphysema. Other causes include exposure to toxic gases like carbon tetrachloride, exposure to irritants like chlorine.

 The symptoms include difficulty breathing, wheezing, tightness of the chest, Coughing out mucus. It is very important to diagnose the disease at an early stage.

If diagnosed at an early stage, it can be treated easily. The treatment includes medicines, steroids, physiotherapy, and oxygen therapy.

 Stress can also cause the condition, but it is also often heredity. If the condition worsens further, it can cause respiratory failure.

There are no specific symptoms of this disorder, but it is often diagnosed in young people who are smokers.

Main Differences Between Asthma and Emphysema

  1. The primary difference between Asthma and Emphysema is that Asthma is more manageable while Emphysema progressively worsens.
  2. Asthma causes the formation of less mucus or phlegm can Emphysema.
  3. Asthma is caused by an allergic reaction, while Emphysema is caused as a result of prolonged exposure to harmful substances.
  4. Asthma causes inflammation of the respiratory tract that can be treated and returned to normal, while Emphysema is caused by permanent damage to the respiratory tract.
  5. Young children are more prone to Asthma in comparison to Emphysema that mainly manifests itself in adults who expose themselves to smoke and other harmful substances.
Difference Between Asthma and Emphysema


Emphysema and Asthma are serious health conditions that affect millions of people. In Asthma, the airway becomes inflamed and narrows, causing difficulty breathing.

In Emphysema, the air sacs in the lung lose their elasticity and cannot expand and contract.

So, the main difference between Emphysema and Asthma is that Emphysema is a chronic disease that damages the elasticity of the lungs.

Whereas, Asthma is a condition where the airways become inflamed and narrow.

Both of these conditions can be helped with treatment and medication and can be prevented with healthier diet and lifestyle choices!


  1. https://www.annualreviews.org/doi/abs/10.1146/annurev.physiol.010908.163200
  2. https://www.ajronline.org/doi/abs/10.2214/ajr.163.5.7976869
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