The official blog of the Lung Institute.
Is Your Hometown COPD Friendly?
There is more than just air quality to study when considering if your town is friendly to someone living with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). The best and worst places to live with COPD are judged based on the availability of hospitals and pulmonary rehabilitation programs. Of course, air quality is up there too.
Worst Cities to Live in with COPD
5. Louisville, Kentucky
Louisville ranks high on the Environmental Protection Agency’s list of most polluted cities. The number of hospitals and rehabilitation centers holds the city slightly better on the list than others, but the climate shift from summer to winter is not good for COPD sufferers. Cold weather effects symptom flareups and particle pollution increases due to wood burning for heat.
4. Bakersfield, California
Bakersfield and the surrounding cities of Los Angeles have some of the most polluted air in the United States. The EPA regularly ranks Bakersfield among the worst for having the most short-term and year-long particle pollution in the air.
3. Fresno, California
Fresno has a similar climate to Bakersfield. It joins many other cities in California known for polluted air. The San Joaquin Valley is a natural trap for air pollution and it sits, lingering for long periods of time. There are not many hospitals or rehabilitation centers, which leaves Fresno among the worst cities for COPD.
2. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Pittsburgh has a very bad climate for COPD. The cold winters can cause symptom flare-ups. The air is among the most polluted in the United States as well. There are a good number of hospitals and rehabilitation centers in Pittsburgh, which is a positive given the need, however.
1. Birmingham, Alabama
Birmingham’s pollution is very high for a relatively small metropolitan area. Nearly 100,000 people in the area have COPD. Unfortunately, there are not many hospitals in the region and pulmonary rehabilitation programs are scarce. This makes Birmingham the worst city to live in if you have COPD.
Best Cities to Live in with COPD
5. St. George, Utah
A low amount of pollution and dry climate make a great combination for COPD patients. Also, St. George boasts the very low COPD rate of 3 percent. In addition, Intermountain Healthcare operates a pulmonary rehabilitation clinic in the area.
4. Cheyenne, Wyoming
It would not be a bad idea to head south for the winter if you have COPD and live in Wyoming, but the clean air is well worth living there. The EPA ranked Cheyenne as having the second cleanest air in the United States. Having a good number of medical centers makes Cheyenne number 4 on the list.
3. Naples, Florida
This area of Southwest Florida is quickly growing. The weather is cool in the winters and, although quite warm in the summer, being close to the Gulf of Mexico makes for a breezy escape from the heat. The EPA ranked Naples in the top 20 cleanest cities and a large number of medical and rehabilitation centers also add to the allure for COPD patients.
2. Prescott, Arizona
Prescott tops the EPA’s list as having the cleanest air in the United States. About 100 miles southwest of Flagstaff, this city offers a limited number of hospitals and rehabilitation centers, but the clean air makes up for it. Prescott has a climate that may fluctuate throughout the day, but is neither too hot nor too cold.
1. Fayetteville, Arkansas
The best place in the Unites States to live with COPD is Fayetteville, Arkansas. This community offers a lot of support for COPD patients, like multiple hospitals and rehabilitation centers, and even a community outreach program. The EPA ranks the cleanliness of the air as high and the climate is agreeable for COPD patients.
Living with COPD is difficult. Managing the symptoms of a lung disease depends on more than just medication. Increase the success of your COPD treatments by making sure that you live in an area that will compliment your efforts.