Get Help

Call the Lung Health Line


Our certified respiratory
educators are ready to take your questions
(M-F 8:30am-4:30pm)

Meet Chris

Chris Leaman’s COPD diagnosis came as a bit of a surprise. But he was becoming increasingly short of breath while working in construction and roofing. When he signed up to participate in

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is the name for a group of lung diseases where people have difficulty breathing because their airways have been narrowed. It includes chronic bronchitis and emphysema. The Lung Association is committed to supporting those affected by this progressive but treatable disease to live their best life. Here you can find the ‘need to know’ info on COPD, including what causes flare-ups, treatment and management.

In 80-90% of cases, COPD is caused by smoking. Some non-smokers can also get COPD. Other causes of COPD include:

  • Genetic reasons (e.g., alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency)
  • Air pollution
  • Workplace exposures (fumes, dusts)
  • Second hand smoke
  • Frequent lung infections as a child
  • Wood smoke and other biomass fuels (e.g., animal dung, crop residues) used for heating and cooking

Have questions about your breathing?

Our Lung Health Information Line is a free, confidential service offered between 8:30 am – 4:30 pm Monday to Friday.  To speak with a Certified Respiratory Educator (a healthcare professional with special training in COPD) call 1-866-717-COPD (2673). After hours, you can leave a message and we will return your call. Our educators will give you advice that will help you breathe your best!

Facts and FAQs

COPD is short for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease is a common lung condition that includes two lung diseases – chronic bronchitis

Symptoms and Diagnosis

People with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease usually have one or more of these symptoms: a cough that lasts a long time, cough with mucus, feeling short of breath


Don’t smoke. If you have never smoked, don’t start. Smoking is the number one cause of COPD. The most important way to prevent it is not to smoke. If you already smoke, consider quitting.

Risks and complications

A flare-up or lung attack (exacerbation) happens when symptoms get worse or when new symptoms develop.

Treatment and Medication for COPD

There is no cure, but it can be treated. Early diagnosislifestyle changes and appropriate drug treatments can help you lead a normal and active life, feel better and stay out of hospital.

Management and Support

Although there is no cure for COPD, there are many ways to help you manage it. COPD severity ranges from mild to very severe.