Listen to your lungs: information for health care professionals

We’re encouraging people to check if they should speak to a health care professional about their shortness of breath.

Our campaign is raising awareness that breathlessness  can be a symptom of serious illness such as COPD.

Why is it important?

Getting an early, and accurate, diagnosis can improve outcomes for people with a lung condition. And it also helps save your resources.

Sometimes people don't tell their doctor or nurse about feeling out of breath because they don’t realise there is help available, or they feel responsible.

They could recover better if they get treatment sooner. The good news is that as well as treating the causes, there are lots of ways they can manage their health and get the most out of life.

And if they don’t need to get it checked out, there’s still lots they can do to look after their lungs today.

What is our online breath test?

We’ve developed a quick online breath test that asks 10 easy questions based around the MRC breathlessness scale.

This test will help people decide if they need to see a GP.

They’ll get a short report with personalised advice on how to look after their lungs. This might suggest they speak to a health care professional, or it might give tips on how to keep fit and healthy.

We want to reassure people who don't have a problem, and guide only those with significant breathlessness to make an appointment with their GP.

Try the test for yourself >

Is it easy to use?

We asked people who have taken the breath test a few questions.

96% of people who responded said that it was easy to use, and 96% said they would recommend it to friends and family.

And 65% said they have taken action after taking the breath test – either seeing their GP or making lifestyle changes.

Can I trust it?

Like all our health information and tools, we worked with experts to develop our breath test.

It’s been produced under the requirements of NHS England’s Information Standard scheme. This means we’ve ensured it uses the latest scientific evidence, is easy to use, and has been produced with the help of people affected by lung conditions.

Find out how we produce our information

Our breath test won't give anybody a diagnosis. Instead, it will encourage people to discuss their results with a health care professional.

What if someone doesn't want to see a GP?

When somebody has an MRC score above 1, we'll advise they talk to a health care professional.

If they don't feel ready to do that yet, we'll give them some advice for looking after their lungs. This advice is personalised based on the results of their test. For example, it might suggest they quit smoking, take up some exercise or change their diet.

They can talk to our helpline if they have any questions about speaking to their GP.

You can put up a poster

How can I get involved?

We can have the biggest impact by encouraging as many people as possible to take our breath test.

You can download a poster to display in your surgery, ward or waiting area. You could also tweet about the campaign, or share it on Facebook.