Chronic respiratory diseases are chronic diseases of the airways and other parts of the lung. Some of the most common are asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), lung cancer, cystic fibrosis, sleep apnea and occupational lung diseases. Respiratory diseases affect all ages-children, teens, adults and seniors. Most of these diseases are chronic in nature and all have a major impact not only on the individual with the disease, but on the family, the community, and the health care system.
The two most important risk factors for chronic respiratory diseases are tobacco smoke (through personal smoking and exposure to second-hand smoke) and indoor and outdoor air quality. Those who smoke cigarettes increase their risk of developing lung cancer, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) and asthma. Exposure to second-hand smoke affects all Canadians, causing cancer in adult non-smokers, sudden infant death syndrome in newborns and worsening symptoms of those with asthma or COPD. All Canadians are affected by the quality of air they breathe. However, the effects are more severe in those with lung disease. People who have chronic respiratory disease should refrain from smoking (or being exposed to second-hand smoke) and as much as possible ensure a high quality of the air they breathe.
The National Lung Health Framework is a 'Made in Canada' action plan developed by and for a wide range of stakeholders working to improve lung health. Its coordinated approach to the prevention and management of respiratory diseases, including asthma, will have a significant positive impact on the state of lung health in Canada.