What are lung and respiratory conditions?
Chronic lung and respiratory conditions are very common and affect almost a third (31%) of Australians. They include:
Asthma and COPD affect airflow to the lungs and make it hard to breathe. People with COPD continue to lose lung function despite taking medication, which does not usually happen with asthma. Smoking is a main cause of COPD and may cause as many as 8 out of 10 COPD-related deaths. The best way to prevent COPD is to avoid tobacco smoke.
Hay fever, also known as allergic rhinitis, is caused by the nose or eyes coming into contact with pollens, dust mites, moulds and animal dander. Hay fever can lead to headaches, inadequate sleep and recurring ear and sinus infections.
Less common conditions include cystic fibrosis, sleep apnoea, and silicosis.
For more information about respiratory conditions see:
- healthdirect’s lung conditions page
- the Australian Centre for Airways Disease Monitoring
- the National Health Survey
What are we doing about lung and respiratory conditions?
We support programs and initiatives that help prevent, detect and treat chronic respiratory diseases. We also fund research into chronic respiratory diseases, and maintain national monitoring and surveillance measures.
Actions to support treatment and management of respiratory conditions include the following:
- We supported the National Asthma Council, in partnership with Asthma Australia, to develop the National Asthma Strategy 2018.
- We also supported the Lung Foundation of Australia to develop the National Strategic Action Plan for Lung Conditions, launched in February 2019.
- The Medicare Benefits Schedule helps pay for patient care, including Chronic Disease Management plans and the Asthma Cycle of Care.
- The Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme helps pay for medicines, including specialised drugs for conditions such as cystic fibrosis.
- The National Health and Medical Research Council funds research into respiratory conditions.
- The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIWH) monitors conditions in Australia, including chronic respiratory conditions
- We provide funding to organisations that run training programs for doctors, nurses, school staff and patients:
See more chronic conditions resources.