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Private GP Services & Occupational Healthcare in Edinburgh, UK.

How to manage asthma and COPD


Posted on June 21st, 2015

In a previous blog post, we explained that people with asthma often confuse their symptoms with those of hay fever. But there are two other conditions that are even more similar: asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

The symptoms of asthma and COPD, which are both serious, long-term lung diseases, are very similar and they’re often treated with the same medicines.

At YourGP private medical practice in Edinburgh, we have the brand new Glaxo Smith Klein inhaler that can prevent and relieve the symptoms of the two conditions.

Similarities between asthma and COPD

Symptoms of asthma are usually caused by a trigger and include:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Wheezing
  • Tight sensation in chest
  • Coughing

COPD is an umbrella term for a collection of serious, long term lung diseases, including chronic bronchitis and emphysema. Symptoms include:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Coughing
  • Chest discomfort
  • Productive cough (produces phlegm or mucus)
  • Repeated chest infections
  • A ‘bluish’ skin tinge due to low oxygen levels in the blood

As well as having similar symptoms, comorbidities (diseases and conditions that you have in addition to the main disease) for asthma and COPD are also often similar. They include:

  • High blood pressure
  • Depression
  • Stomach ulcers
  • Cancer
  • Reduced mobility, often resulting in being housebound

However, one of the main differences between COPD and asthma is the age that symptoms begin.

Most people are initially diagnosed with asthma in childhood, however COPD, especially emphysema, is often caused by smoking and people don’t usually get diagnosed until they’re in their 40s.

Prevent and relieve asthma and COPD

At YourGP, we have a new inhaler from Glaxo Smith Klein which allows patients to only use their inhaler once in any 24-hour period.

The inhaler, Relvar Ellipta, is effective over 24 hours, but it’s essential to use the medicine at the same time each day as this will help to keep you free of symptoms throughout the day and night.

The recommended dose is one inhalation, once daily, at the same time each day  not only when you have breathing problems or other symptoms of COPD and asthma.

Relvar Ellipta shouldn’t be used to relieve a sudden attack of breathlessness or wheezing if you get this sort of attack you must use a quick-acting inhaler.

The science behind Relvar Ellipta

Relvar Ellipta contains two active substances: fluticasone furoate and vilanterol.

Fluticasone furoate belongs to a group of medicines called corticosteroids, which reduce inflammation and help to prevent attacks of asthma and aggravation of COPD.

Vilanterol, meanwhile, belongs to a group of medicines called long acting bronchodilators. It relaxes the muscles of the small air passages in the lungs. This helps to open the airways and makes it easier for air to get in and out of the lungs.

When you take these two active substances together regularly, they help control your breathing difficulties more than either medicine alone.

If you are suffering from asthma or COPD and want to find out more about Relvar Ellipta, use our online booking form to book an appointment, email our reception team at or call us on 0131 225 5656.

If you have any questions about Relvar Ellipta, leave a comment below, or get in touch on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.

Image courtesy of NIAID under CC BY 2.0

I needed a quick appointment as I was leaving for America. The doctor listened and allayed any concerns. It was a pleasure to talk to a doctor who wasn’t watching the clock and not paying attention to me. I left confident that if a problem arose I would be able to deal with it until I arrived home. The experience left me feeling confident and positive.

Roseann Young – USA

YourGP is regulated by Healthcare Improvement Scotland – the regulator for independent healthcare services across Scotland. Healthcare Improvement Scotland accepts complaints at any time. Contact them at:

Independent Healthcare Team
Gyle Square | 1 South Gyle Crescent | Edinburgh | EH12 9EB
0131 623 4342 |