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Lung diseases A to Z

The Canadian Lung Association is a source of evidence-based, user-friendly patient resources, including fact sheets, videos and more, featuring information on symptoms, causes, treatment and disease management.


Asbestosis is a chronic (long-term) lung disease caused by breathing in asbestos fibers. Asbestos is a heat-resistant mineral that used to be common in insulation, vinyl floor tiles, cement, brake linings and other products. 

Learn more about asbestosis

Asthma is a chronic disease in which certain triggers can cause your airways to swell and fill with mucus. This narrows your airways and makes it harder to breathe.  

Asthma can’t be cured, but with proper treatment, people with asthma can lead normal, active lives.

Learn more about asthma

Bronchiectasis is an obstructive lung disease in which the airways widen and stretch out. In some places this can cause little pockets to form in which germs, dust and mucus collect and get stuck, which can cause infection. 

Learn more about bronchiectasis

Bronchitis is swelling in your air passages (bronchi). Bronchitis causes the bronchi to swell and fill with sticky mucus, making it harder to breathe. 

Acute bronchitis lasts two to three weeks and is usually caused by a virus. 

A cough with mucus on most days for three months of the year is considered chronic bronchitis, which can contribute to COPD.

Learn more about bronchitis

Chronic cough is a cough that lasts eight weeks or more. 

It is estimated that chronic cough affects about 16% of Canadians between the ages of 45 and 85.

Learn more about chronic cough

COPD is a chronic progressive lung disease that causes the airways in the lungs to become swollen and blocked. Shortness of breath and increasing difficulty with everyday activities are two of the most common signs of COPD. Emphysema and chronic bronchitis are the two conditions that contribute to COPD in most cases.

COPD affects more than 2 million people living in Canada. It is the second-leading cause of hospitalization in this country. 

Learn more about COPD

COVID-19 is a virus that directly affects the lungs. People with lung disease who become infected with COVID-19 are more at risk of serious illness and hospitalization. If you have lung disease, preventing the contraction of COVID-19 is extremely important. 

Learn more about COVID-19

Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in this country, but the incidence and mortality rates for lung cancer are decreasing faster than any other type of cancer in Canada. 

Learn more about lung cancer

Obstructive sleep apnea (also called OSA or obstructive sleep apnea-hypopnea syndrome) is a serious breathing problem that interrupts your sleep. Over 1 in 4 (26%) Canadian adults are at high risk of having or developing obstructive sleep apnea.

Learn more about obstructive sleep apnea