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What is lung disease?

Lung disease is the second leading cause of death in Australia. Every day 45 Australians will lose their lives to lung disease and lung cancer.

Lung disease is any problem in the lungs that prevents the lungs from working properly. Anyone can get lung disease, regardless of age, gender or background. 

While anyone can get lung disease, your risk can be increased by a number of factors, including age or if you:

  • Smoke or have ever smoked.
  • Work or worked in a job that exposed you to dust, gas, fumes or chemicals.
  • Have a family history of lung disease.

Warning signs and symptoms

Symptoms of lung disease tend to creep up slowly and people often put the symptoms down to ageing or lack of fitness. Knowing the early warning signs of lung disease can help you receive treatment before the disease becomes serious or even life-threatening. Symptoms of lung disease include:

  • Having a new, persistent or changed cough
  • Coughing up mucus, phlegm or blood
  • Getting breathless more easily than others your age
  • Experiencing chest tightness or wheeze
  • Having frequent chest infections
  • Experiencing chest pain, fatigue
  • Experiencing sudden weight loss

If you experience any of the warning signs, make an appointment with your GP as soon as possible. 

Book an appointment

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Check your Lungs: Take the Lung Health Checklist

Breathlessness. A persistent cough. Fatigue. These are just some of the signs many of us ignore or put down to ageing and lack of fitness.

Don’t miss the signs that something isn't right. In 2 minutes you can check how healthy your lungs are. 

Complete the Lung Health Checklist

How can I take care of my lungs?

What is a comprehensive lung function test?

If you have any signs or symptoms of lung disease, a GP or specialist may perform a comprehensive lung function test to understand your lung health. It includes a variety of tests that will provide information on your lung function and if you have obstructive lung disease.

Book a GP appointment

Protect your family this winter

During winter, it’s important to be aware of respiratory diseases that could make your family unwell, such as the common cold, flu, pneumonia and COVID-19. You can do many things to protect yourself and your family's lung health during the colder months, including getting vaccinated.

Book an appointment for a flu vaccination.

Protect your mob

Viruses like the flu, COVID-19 and pneumonia can be dangerous, but there are ways to protect yourself and your mob. Experts are predicting a serious flu season this winter, so it’s more important than ever to take steps to protect yourself. Getting your jabs, practicing good hygiene and staying home if you’re unwell will help keep you and your family strong and healthy this winter.

5 tips for living well with a lung disease during winter 

Living with a lung disease puts you at increased risk during winter. Getting vaccinated, making a plan with your GP, maintaining healthy habits, taking care of your mental health and connecting to care can help you through winter. 

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Exercising with a Lung Condition

Research has shown that exercising is highly beneficial for people living with chronic lung disease. Exercise improves your health and well-being, maintains your fitness, and reduces symptoms such as breathlessness

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COPD Action Plans

To identify the early signs and symptoms of a flare-up or worsening symptoms, a COPD (Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) Action Plan can be completed with your GP. It provides a written plan on what actions to take to help manage a flare-up early. The COPD Action plan should be reviewed with your doctor yearly and after a flare-up.

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Mind Matters

Being diagnosed and living with a lung condition can take a toll on your mental health and well-being. You may experience feelings of confusion, isolation and distress. These feelings are normal, and seeking help and support for your mental health is important.

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Support Groups

Support groups bring people with similar experiences together to help each other cope with the challenges they may experience with their lung condition and encourage each other to live the best life possible.


Lung Foundation Australia is the only charity and leading peak body of its kind in Australia that funds life-changing research and delivers support services that give hope to people living with lung disease or lung cancer.

Since 1990, they have been working to ensure lung health is a priority for all, from promoting lung health and early diagnosis, advocating for policy change and research investment, raising awareness about the symptoms and prevalence of lung disease and championing equitable access to treatment and care.

All resources and information has been provided by Lung Foundation Australia.