Purpose Despite data showing breathlessness to be more prevalent in older adults, we have little detail about the severity or multidimensional characteristics of breathlessness and other self-reported measures (such as quality of life and other cardiorespiratory-related symptoms) in this group at the population level. We also know little about the relationship between multidimensional breathlessness, other symptoms, comorbidities and future clinical outcomes such as quality of life, hospitalisation and mortality. This paper reports the design and descriptive findings from the first two waves of a longitudinal prospective cohort study in older adults. Participants Between 2010 and 2011, 1900 men in a region in southern Sweden aged 65 years were invited to attend for VAScular and Chronic Obstructive Lung disease (VASCOL) baseline (Wave 1) assessments which included physiological measurements, blood sampling and a self-report survey of lifestyle and previous medical conditions. In 2019, follow-up postal survey data (Wave 2) were collected with additional self-report measures for breathlessness, other symptoms and quality of life. At each wave, data are cross-linked with nationwide Swedish registry data of diseases, treatment, hospitalisation and cause of death. Findings to date 1302/1900 (68%) of invited men participated in Wave 1, which include 56% of all 65-year-old men in the region. 5% reported asthma, 2% chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, 56% hypertension, 10% diabetes and 19% had airflow limitation. The VASCOL cohort had comparable characteristics to those of similarly aged men in Sweden. By 2019, 109/1302 (8.4%) had died. 907/1193 (76%) of the remainder participated in Wave 2. Internal data completeness of 95% or more was achieved for most Wave 2 measures. Future plans A third wave will be conducted within 4 years, and the cohort will be followed through repeated follow-ups planned every fourth year, as well as national registry data of diagnosis, treatments and cause of death.