Long term lung conditions

Long term lung conditions can also be described as chronic lung conditions. The most common conditions are COPD, Bronchiectasis and Pulmonary Fibrosis.

Most common causes of lung conditions include:
• smoking
• long term exposure to hazardous fumes and dust
• air pollution
• previous infections (e.g. TB, whooping cough, pneumonia)
• rare genetic problems
• long standing Asthma

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) is the term used to describe a group of conditions, including Chronic Bronchitis and Emphysema.

COPD narrows the airways and can cause the air sacs to lose their structure and become floppy. This makes it harder to move air in and out as you breathe, and your lungs are less able to take in oxygen and get rid of carbon dioxide.


Bronchiectasis is damage to the structure of the wall of the airway. It causes the airway to become widened and fill with excess mucus. This leads to a persistent cough and frequent infections.

Pulmonary Fibrosis

Pulmonary Fibrosis is thought to be triggered when cells that line the lung alveoli (air sacs) become damaged. Affected cells try to repair themselves but this can cause thickening and scarring (fibrosis) of the alveoli and surrounding lung tissue. The thickened tissue can significantly affect how oxygen passes from the lungs into the blood. It’s not clear what causes it, but it usually affects people around 70-75 years of age and is rare in people under 50.