Clinical Research Office. A partnership between Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and the University of Sheffield

Asthma and COPD

Asthma and COPD are conditions which affect the airways. There are over 8 million people in the UK living with these conditions.

In asthma, the breathing tubes that carry air from your mouth and nose into your lung tend to get inflamed, twitchy, and can go into spasm. This makes it harder to breathe. Typical symptoms of asthma are intermittent breathlessness with wheeze, cough and chest tightness. Symptoms can be mild or severe and can often come and go. It is often worse in the early hours of the morning and can be triggered by coughs and colds, allergens (such as pets, pollen), irritants (such as smoke, pollution) or by exercise. There is more information about Asthma on the Asthma UK website here.

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, or COPD, is the name for a group of lung conditions that cause breathing difficulties. It includes emphysema – damage to the air sacs in the lungs, and chronic bronchitis – long-term inflammation of the airways. This condition is particularly affects people with a history of smoking as well as those who have been exposed to lung irritants over a long period of time. Typical symptoms include, breathlessness, chest infections, wheezing and a chesty cough. People who suffer from COPD have lungs sensitive to pollutants in the air; roughly a quarter to a third of smokers develop COPD.

There is more information about COPD here.

There is also some information about support groups on these pages here.

At STH, we run and participate in a number of studies to help understand Asthma and COPD better.

We are currently running a drug trial to understand, if and how, a drug called mepolizumab can help people with COPD. You can find out more about this study, called the SUMMER Study, here.