Living with a lung condition

Living with a lung condition

The British Lung Foundation has lots of very useful advice about living with breathing difficulties, including how to keep active, caring for someone with lung problems and making changes to your health.  Visit their website.



Using your inhaler correctly can help you manage your asthma better because you're getting the correct amount of medicine into your lungs where it can work to reduce your asthma symptoms.  Learn how to use your inhaler correctly with Asthma UK’s advice here.


Stopping smoking

Giving up smoking can make a drastic improvement to your lifestyle and health in ways you might not expect. Once you stop smoking, some of the benefits are immediate and some are longer-term.  If you already have a lung condition, quitting smoking is the single best thing you can do for your health and quality of life. Quitting will help you cope with your symptoms and stop your condition getting worse.

Quitting may not be easy, but there’s lots of free NHS support out there to help you. Visit to get in touch with an advisor who can support you through it.

It’s never too late to give up, no matter how long you have smoked for. Your lungs will work better, even if you quit when you’re over 65. If you stop smoking when you’re younger, you’re likely to live much longer.

Your friends and family will be healthier too. Second-hand smoke is dangerous to those around you – particularly for babies and children as they breathe more rapidly and their lungs are not yet fully formed.

How soon will I notice a difference?
Stopping smoking improves your health very quickly. You are likely to feel much better and find breathing easier by day three.  This information from explains how your body reacts to going smokefree.

After 20 minutes

Pulse rate returns to normal.

After 8 hours

Nicotine and carbon monoxide levels in blood reduce by more than half and oxygen levels return to normal.

After 48 hours

There is no nicotine in the body. Ability to taste and smell is improved.

After 72 hours

Breathing becomes easier. Bronchial tubes begin to relax and energy levels increase.

After 2-12 weeks

Your circulation improves.

After 3-9 months

Coughs, wheezing and breathing problems improve as lung function increases by up to 10%.

After 1 year

Risk of heart disease is about half compared with a person who is still smoking.

After 10 years

Risk of lung cancer falls to half that of a smoker.

After 15 years

Risk of heart attack falls to the same as someone who has never smoked

Keeping well in winter

If you have a long term health condition, the cold and damp weather – ice, snow and cold winds – can be bad for you. It can make you more vulnerable to winter illnesses, such as coughs and colds, which could become very serious. However, there are things you can do.

  • Seek expert advice
    Always seek advice from your pharmacist at the first sign of a cough or a cold, before it gets more serious.
  • Buy over-the-counter medicines
    Many over-the-counter medicines (including paracetamol and ibroprufen) are available to relieve symptoms of common winter ailments such as colds, sore throat, coughs, sinusitis or painful middle ear infection (earache).
  • Get your flu jab
    You are eligible for the free flu vaccination if you have the following conditions:
    • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), bronchitis, emphysema or asthma
    • Heart disease
    • Kidney disease
    • Liver disease
    • Have had a stroke or a transient ischaemic attack (TIA)
    • Diabetes
    • Lowered immunity as a result of disease or medical treatment, such as steroid medication or cancer treatment
    • A neurological condition, such as multiple sclerosis (MS) or cerebral palsy
    • A learning disability
    • A problem with your spleen, including sickle cell disease, or if you've had your spleen removed
  • Keep yourself warm
    Your home should be at least 18C (65F). Take advantage of financial schemes and discounts to help you pay for heating. See Keep Warm, Keep Well for details and visit Go Energy Shopping, the Ofgem website, to find the best deal for your gas and electricity.
  • Use your scarf!
    Asthma sufferers can help avoid attacks by wearing and breathing through scarves during cold weather.

Last modified: 

10 Jan 2018