three artistic interpretations of lungs, created in oil pastels

Other Lung Conditions: Asthma, Cystic Fibrosis, and Lung Cancer

Last updated: February 2021

How does the development and progression of COPD (chronic bronchitis or emphysema) differ from some other well-known lung conditions like asthma, cystic fibrosis, and lung cancer? Read and learn about these respiratory conditions below, and share your experiences with us in the comments!


Like COPD, asthma is characterized as an obstructive airway disease. But how do the conditions differ? For one, airflow limitation in asthma is typically a result of a flare-up, meaning outside of these symptoms, people with asthma are not usually short of breath. COPD causes some sort of airflow limitation all the time, so symptoms of it may always be present to some degree.

Looking to read more about asthma and how it differs from COPD?

Community Poll

Have you ever been diagnosed with asthma?

Cystic fibrosis

Cystic fibrosis (CF) is a lung condition caused by a mutated gene, the cystic fibrosis transmembrane regulator protein (CTFR). A flaw in this gene causes cells to make mucus that is too thick and sticky. This prevents mucus from properly lubricating tubes, ducts, and passages inside the body.

Interested in understanding further about CF and how it affects the body?

Community Poll

How familiar with cystic fibrosis were you before reading this article?

Lung cancer

In the case of cancer, affected cells abnormally multiply in the body. When this happens, the growth may become uncontrollable, causing lumps of cells that invade nearby tissues, resulting in tumors. Lung cancer is characterized by a malignant lump of cells, or tumor, in the lungs.

Looking to read further about lung cancer and its causes?

Community Poll

Do you or someone you know live with lung cancer?

Visit our sister-communities and sign up for emails for more information around these conditions!

By providing your email address, you are agreeing to our privacy policy.


Join the conversation

Please read our rules before commenting.

Community Poll

Do you know the difference between a COPD exacerbation and lung function decline?