Exhale

The official blog of the Lung Institute.

Can Warm Weather Affect COPD?

28 Jul 2014
| Under COPD, Lifestyle, Lung Disease | Posted by
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Warm weather affect COPD? Lung Institute

When the temperature dial is set to HOT across the entire country those who suffer from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) may be wondering, Can this sultry weather affect my COPD?

How Does Weather Affect COPD?

Chances are, you or someone you know has COPD. According to the American Lung Association, more than 12 million people living in the United States have been diagnosed with this debilitating lung disease, and the same number are walking around with undiagnosed COPD. What is COPD? The term encompasses chronic bronchitis and emphysema, with the primary and preventable cause being smoking. People with COPD can experience a wide range of symptoms including chronic coughing, shortness of breath, fatigue, mucus production and wheezing. Although no cure for COPD currently exists, symptoms and flare-ups can be minimized. COPD sufferers should understand what can trigger flare-ups.

It isn’t only warm weather that can worsen a COPD sufferer’s symptoms. Cold weather can wreak havoc and make a person with COPD feel poorly. Extremes of hot and cold–temperatures above 90 degrees Fahrenheit and below freezing–are the times to be vigilant.

Study Results

For the most part, research studies have focused on the effects of cold weather on COPD. A group in England investigated the hypothesis that cold weather increased COPD flare-ups to such an extent that it resulted in hospitalizations. Analysis of 6 years of patient data established a clear correlation between cold weather and COPD hospital admissions. People were more susceptible to COPD flare-ups when cold weather lasted for a week or more.

A 10-year study conducted in Taiwan confirmed a similar relationship between cold weather and an increase in COPD symptoms. Researchers evaluated close to 17,000 COPD patients and concluded that, especially in elderly COPD patients and those who did not use inhalers, people suffered most at temperatures below 41ºF/5ºC , along with high barometric pressure.

Keeping Flare-ups to a Minimum

If you have COPD, there are a number of tips to keep flare-ups at a minimum when the weather is very hot or very cold.

In the Heat

  • Stay indoors in the air-conditioning on the hottest and most humid days.
  • Check air quality. Smog and heat work together to induce flare-ups.
  • Drink plenty of water.

In the Cold

  • Stay indoors. If you must venture outside, protect your head and neck with a hat and scarf. If you use supplemental oxygen, carry the hose under clothing to warm the air you’re inhaling from that chilly O2 tank.
  • Breathe through the nose instead of the mouth.

If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with COPD and want to learn more about treatment options, contact the Lung Institute, or call 888-745-6697.

* Every patient is given a Patient Satisfaction Survey shortly after treatment. Responses to the 11-question survey are aggregated to determine patient satisfaction with the delivery of treatment.

^ Quality of Life Survey data measured the patient’s self-assessed quality of life and measurable quality of improvement at three months of COPD patients.

All claims made regarding the efficacy of Lung Institute's treatments as they pertain to pulmonary conditions are based solely on anecdotal support collected by Lung Institute. Individual conditions, treatment and outcomes may vary and are not necessarily indicative of future results. Testimonial participation is voluntary. Lung Institute does not pay for or script patient testimonials.

As required by Texas state law, the Lung Institute Dallas Clinic has received Institutional Review Board (IRB) approval from MaGil IRB, now Chesapeake IRB, which is fully accredited by the Association for the Accreditation of Human Research Protection Program (AAHRPP), for research protocols and procedures. The Lung Institute has implemented these IRB approved standards at all of its clinics nationwide. Approval indicates that we follow rigorous standards for ethics, quality, and protections for human research.

Each patient is different. Results may vary.