Table 1: Differential Diagnosis of Asthma and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)a

Asthma COPD

Onset early in life (often childhood) Onset in mid-life
Symptoms vary from day to day Symptoms slowly progressive
Symptoms at night/early morning Long history of tobacco smoking
Allergy, rhinitis, and/or eczema sometimes present Dyspnea during exercise
Family history of asthma usually present Largely irreversible airflow limitation
Largely reversible airflow limitation Presence of comorbidities

a Adapted with permission from the Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease (GOLD) [4].