Asthma and Pneumonia are two medical conditions that affect the respiratory system of the body. Both these conditions are more prevalent in children although adults may also get it. There is a lot in common when it comes to the presenting features of both of these conditions. However, the etiology of both of these conditions is markedly different and the treatment approaches for both of these conditions are also quite different[1].

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Studies however suggest that pneumonia is difficult to diagnose in asthmatics. Asthma is not a causative factor for pneumonia although asthmatics are at an increased risk for developing this condition. Both asthma and pneumonia affect the lungs. Asthma occurs due to narrowing and inflammation of the airways. The symptoms of asthma are triggered in response to exposure to certain common allergens like dust, smoke, chemicals, and other environmental allergens[1].

An individual with a full blows asthma attack will experience problems with breathing, chest tightness, and persistent bouts of cough along with wheezing. On the other hand, pneumonia is caused when viruses or bacteria infect the lungs. Pneumonia also causes an inflammation in the lungs; however, in this case the inflammation is more around the alveoli[1].

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There is also accumulation of fluid around the air sacs making it difficult to breathe. This article highlights the connection between asthma and pneumonia and also the differences between the two conditions[1].

Link Between Asthma and Pneumonia

As stated earlier asthma does not cause pneumonia however an individual with a known diagnosis of asthma is at risk for developing this condition easily. The reason behind this is that people with asthma already have weak lung tissues and due to this condition there is also significant damage inflicted on the lungs. This is precisely the reason why asthmatics tend to have more severe symptoms with just a bout of cold or flu. In fact, a simple flu can cause pneumonia in people with asthma than the normal population. This data has been put out by the Center for Disease Control[1].

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Another study done on this topic mentions the role of asthma medications playing a role in the development of pneumonia. The primary medication used for treating asthma which is corticosteroid inhaler puts the individual at risk for developing pneumonia. One more study suggests that youngsters who have a known diagnosis of asthma tend to have excess symptoms of this condition even with little exposure to allergens after a bout of pneumonia[1].

The individuals studied in the group tended to visit the hospital more frequently for asthma related issues after being treated for pneumonia. Thus there is a clear link established between asthma and pneumonia. However, there are also quite significant differences between these two conditions[1].

The biggest difference between asthma and pneumonia is that; while asthma is noninfectious disease, pneumonia is caused by a bacterial or a viral infection affecting the lungs. Another difference between asthma and pneumonia is that; while asthma affects the bronchioles making breathing difficult, pneumonia affects the alveoli or the air sacs in the lungs[1].

Pneumonia also causes buildup of fluid in the lungs making breathing difficult asthma does not cause any fluid accumulation in the lungs. Another start difference between asthma and pneumonia is that asthma cannot be cured but the symptoms can be managed with proper medications[1].

Additionally, the triggers for asthma also decrease with time as the individual knows how to manage the symptoms. Pneumonia on the other hand is treatable and can be cured with medications. The treatment approaches of asthma and pneumonia are also quite different[1].

In conclusion, there is a clear link between asthma and pneumonia. Thus it is vital for individuals with asthma to understand the link. While both these diseases are different, an individual with asthma is at an increased risk for developing pneumonia[1].

Additionally, if an asthmatic develops pneumonia then there is an increased likelihood of that individual developing more complications due to this disease. Thus early diagnosis and treatment of pneumonia is a must for people with a known diagnosis of asthma to prevent complications which may further deteriorate the picture[1].

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Sheetal DeCaria MD

Written, Edited or Reviewed By:

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Last Modified On: June 21, 2019

This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer

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