Health Conditions That Mimic Asthma Symptoms

Experiencing symptoms of asthma doesn’t guarantee an asthma diagnosis. There are numerous health conditions that can mimic asthma by causing trouble breathing, coughing, and wheezing. 

Before assuming that you have asthma, visit a specialist like Dr. Jaime Kratz for an evaluation. Dr. Kratz can determine whether you’re suffering from asthma or a different health condition and ensure that you receive the appropriate treatment. 

Which Conditions Can Mimic Asthma?

COPD

COPD, or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, is a term used for multiple lung diseases. Chronic bronchitis and emphysema are the most common conditions under the COPD umbrella. Most often connected to smoking, COPD can have asthma-like symptoms in its early stages. But, as it progresses, the condition typically causes other symptoms, including:

  • A phlegm-producing cough
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Swollen feet, ankles, or legs
  • Blue fingernails or lips
  • Frequent cold infections

Sinusitis

Sinusitis is a condition that causes inflamed sinuses. Also referred to as a sinus infection, sinusitis can be mistaken for asthma because it can cause coughing and nasal inflammation. However, sinusitis and asthma can also occur at the same time, given that sinusitis often causes postnasal drip, which may worsen asthma symptoms. 

Congestive Heart Failure

Congestive heart failure, or CHF, occurs when the heart cannot pump enough blood and oxygen.. This can cause shortness of breath during physical activity, coughing, and wheezing, much like asthma. But, it can cause other symptoms such as swelling of the legs, feet, and ankles, irregular or rapid heartbeat, weakness, and fatigue. 

Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease

Commonly referred to as GERD, this condition occurs when acid and other substances from the stomach return to the esophagus and cause heartburn. This condition can eventually lead to pneumonitis, which is characterized by inflamed air sacs in the lungs. Pneumonitis has asthma-like symptoms, but can be differentiated from asthma due to other symptoms including:

  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Rales (crackling noise in the lungs)
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Clubbing of the fingers and toes

If you’re experiencing symptoms of asthma, schedule an appointment today at Kratz Allergy & Asthma for an evaluation from asthma specialist, Dr. Kratz!