Respiratory Disease

Chronic respiratory diseases (CRDs) are diseases of the airways and other structures of the lung. Some of the most common are chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), asthma, occupational lung diseases (a broad group of diagnoses caused by the inhalation of dusts, chemicals, or proteins) and pulmonary hypertension. In addition to tobacco smoke, other risk factors include air pollution, occupational chemicals and dusts, and frequent lower respiratory infections during childhood. CRDs are not curable, however, various forms of treatment that help dilate major air passages and improve shortness of breath can help control symptoms and increase the quality of life for people with the disease.

  • Respiratory Disease in Oldham

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) is not one single disease but an umbrella term used to describe chronic lung diseases that cause limitations in lung airflow. The most common symptoms of COPD are breathlessness, or a ‘need for air’, excessive sputum production, and a chronic cough. The prevalence of COPD is higher in Oldham than England and is similar to the Greater Manchester average. In 2012/13, there were 703 admissions to hospital from Oldham residents due to COPD (2.87 per 1,000 population). This is higher than the England rate of 2.15 per 1,000 population.


Asthma is a chronic disease characterised by recurrent attacks of breathlessness and wheezing, which vary in severity and frequency from person to person. During an asthma attack, the lining of the bronchial tubes swell, causing the airways to narrow and reducing the flow of air into and out of the lungs. Recurrent asthma symptoms frequently cause sleeplessness, daytime fatigue, reduced activity levels and school and work absenteeism. Asthma has a relatively low fatality rate compared to other chronic diseases. There were 16,631 Oldham residents with asthma on GP practice registers in 2016/17. The rate for Oldham has remained significantly higher than the England rate since 2010/11.


  • Further Resources

1. Inhale РINteractive Health Atlas of Lung conditions in England is an online tool showing data from a range of sources about respiratory disease (mostly COPD and asthma). It includes data from the Quality and Outcomes Framework (QOF), Hospital Episode Statistics (HES), the Public Health Outcomes Framework (PHOF) and NHS Comparators.

2. Information on respiratory disease at a GP level can be found here.