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The Danger of Cold Weather and COPD

8 Jan 2016
| Under COPD, Lung Disease, Medical, Related Conditions | Posted by | 16 Comments
The Danger of Cold Weather and COPD

Winter is coming. Here’s what you need to know.

For anyone who suffers from Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), cold weather conditions can often bring out the worst symptoms. Cold temperatures can regularly lead to fatigue, and even windy days can cause shortness of breath. It’s no secret that many suffering from the disease have found their symptoms become aggravated during colder weather. The effect of cold temperatures on respiratory health has been the subject of study for quite some time, and researchers have even found direct links between cold weather and COPD hospital admissions.

With your health in mind, the Lung Institute is here to provide you with the information you need to avoid the danger of cold weather and COPD so that you stay healthy this winter.

Cold Weather and COPD

The Danger of Cold Weather and COPD

The effects of cold weather on the lungs can be extreme and chronic exposure to cold environments are known to cause dramatic changes to the respiratory system. What many who experience respiratory illness fail to realize is how closely linked the heart and lungs are in their function. The lungs provide oxygen to the bloodstream and the heart pumps blood, delivering oxygen to various parts throughout the body. With an onset of low to extreme temperatures blood vessels begin to narrow, restricting blood flow and depriving the heart of oxygen. The heart is forced to pump harder, which ultimately increases blood pressure.

Your Body’s Response

The Danger of Cold Weather and COPD

The body’s initial response to cold weather is an increase in the respiration rate (hyperventilation) followed by a steep drop (hypoventilation). As researchers can attest, even cold weather temperatures that seem mild can spark poor respiratory health. In mild winters particularly, the largest strain on the respiratory system can be found, leading to a higher rate of cold-related mortality among the elderly. In fact, it is at 40 degrees Fahrenheit in which the risk of cold-related mortality is at its highest point because of the strain it puts on the lungs and heart.

Humidity and Wind

The Danger of Cold Weather and COPD

Often, humidity and wind can have an effect on the lungs as well. With wind resistance, tasks such as simply walking can become laboring endeavors, and as humidity in the air increases, the air becomes denser which creates more resistance in airflow to the lungs. An increase in sputum production creating further blockages in the lungs is a common occurrence in cold weather conditions as well. Unfortunately, these effects are often compounded, as even a few weeks under these conditions can further add to vulnerability.

How to Combat the Cold

Now that you understand the dangers, it’s time to fight back with a few simple tips for keeping your lungs in the best condition this winter.

  • Don’t burn wood on stoves or fireplaces to avoid smoke build-up
  • If the weather is poor, change your schedule to avoid it when possible
  • If using oxygen, keep your oxygen hose under your coat to keep the air as warm as possible
  • When it’s cold outside, use a scarf or face mask over your nose and mouth and breathe through your nose. This will warm the air before it enters your lungs.

Although living with COPD and other respiratory illnesses can be a difficult endeavor in cold-weather climates and at large, there is hope. As technology increases, discoveries in science and medicine are being made every day. Currently, stem cell therapy stands alone as the only treatment option that works to promote healing within the body in order to directly affect the diseases’ progression and mortality.

If you’re looking to make a profound change in your life or the life of someone you love, the time is now. If you or a loved one suffers from COPD, or another lung disease, the Lung Institute may be able to help with a variety of stem cell treatment options. Contact us at (800) 729-3065 to find out if you qualify for stem cell therapy.

Is your health affected by cold weather? We want to hear from you! Share your thoughts and comments on How Cold Weather Affects COPD below.


  1. Lung Institute

    2 weeks ago


    Thank you for your comment and we are sorry to hear about your condition. Cold weather for those living with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) can be particularly difficult. All of the symptoms that serve to comprise chronic lung disease — frequent coughing, reduced mobility, fatigue and shortness of breath — are greatly worsened in the presence of extreme cold. Cold weather can have a dramatic effect on the lungs with the capability of making significant changes to the respiratory system under chronic exposure. At its worst, cold weather and COPD can cause you to experience shortness of breath while putting you at a higher risk of getting sick.

    It also depends on where you live and how severe the winter months can be. Also, depending on where you live, the utility company cannot shut off someone’s heat in the winter, though you would be expected to make payment arrangements in the spring.

    Good luck,

    The Lung Institute

  2. Janice

    2 weeks ago

    I have Surspected celluar nsip which is stable. and i can not afford to put my heating on due to being off my benefits.can the cold agravate it

  3. Lung Institute

    4 weeks ago


    Thank you for your comment. Bronchial thermoplasty is a treatment to address asthma and its symptoms. Our focus is on different lung diseases from asthma but we would be happy to talk with you if you would like.

    We’re happy to answer your questions about stem cell therapy, so feel free to contact us at (855) 313-1149 to speak one-on-one with a patient coordinator. We look forward to hearing from you soon.


    The Lung Institute

  4. Randy

    4 weeks ago

    Im 52 diagnosed with stage 3 COPD THREE YEARS AGO. I NEVER SMOKED, its from asthma. Cold air always makes me have exerbations. Usually end up in hospital. Im interested in broncial Plasty.

  5. Matt

    9 months ago

    Hello Karen,
    Thank you for your question. Our advice is for you to speak with your primary care doctor and tell him the complications you’ve been having at work. Once you’ve discussed this with your doctor, then inform your employer about how the office temperature is affecting your work. If you have any other questions, and about stem cell therapy, please give us a call at (855) 313-1149. Thanks again and have a great day.

  6. karen

    9 months ago

    I’m 76 years old and still working 40 hrs a week. My concern is that my copd seems worse at the office as they keep the office very cold. We sit at our desks in sweaters, coats and lap robes.
    my hands get very cold, numb and actually hurt. Am I not getting enough oxygen to my extremities due to the cold? I also keep falling asleep while working and can’t fight it off.
    it’s so bad that I’m thinking of quitting my job. by the way requests to turn up the thermostat have fallen on deaf ears. I’m exhausted at the end of the day. do other people have this problem in their offices? what do they do to relieve the problem?
    it seems like a real drain on my body

  7. Matt

    9 months ago

    Hello M.,
    Thank you for your post. It is possible for someone to get COPD at that young age, but there are several factors which would have to be present in order for that to happen. If you are concerned that you may have COPD or another chronic lung disease, please contact your primary care physician and tell them your concern. That way they can go through the proper testing. Thanks again and have a great day.

  8. M.

    9 months ago

    Can younger people get copd, say late 20’s too? or only older people. When It is really windy I have trouble breathing that I have to shelter inside. even putting a scarf over my mouth or nose doesn’t quite help.

  9. PB

    12 months ago

    Dear Chris,

    Thanks for your comment and question. Pulmonary sarcoidosis and other chronic lung diseases, such as COPD and pulmonary fibrosis, are complex conditions that affect everyone differently. To answer your question in more detail and to learn more about your husband’s pulmonary condition, it’s best to speak one-on-one with one of our patient coordinators. Our patient coordinators have a wealth of knowledge about stem cells, treatment options, candidacy and cost, and they are happy to answer your questions. Feel free to contact us at (855) 313-1149, and we look forward to speaking with you soon.

    Kind Regards,

    The Lung Institute

  10. Chris

    12 months ago

    My husband is 53 and diagnosed with stage 2/3 pulmonary sarcoidosis. Are you familiar with it and can stem cells help with this disease?

  11. PB

    2 years ago

    Dear Jerry,

    We would be happy to answer your questions one-on-one today. Feel free to contact us at (855) 313-1149 to speak with one of our patient coordinators. They have a wealth of knowledge about stem cells, treatment and cost. We look forward to speaking with you soon.

    Best Regards,

    The Lung Institute

  12. Jerry Gregory

    2 years ago

    I’m wondering if stem cells would help me I’m hoping something will cause I’m not ready to die I’m only 61 have a lot more life in me

  13. PB

    2 years ago


    It’s great to hear. We look forward to seeing you soon.

    Best Regards,

    The Lung Institute

  14. Name

    2 years ago

    I did the stem cell the therapy in May of 2015 I’m going back in May of 2016.

  15. Cameron Kennerly

    2 years ago

    Hello Susan,

    We can’t tell you how much we appreciate you for sharing the story of your husband and family. Your story of hard-work and discipline for the health of your husband is inspiring and we are proud to be of service in his quest for better health. Although the effects of treatment may take as much as 6 months to become apparent, please keep us updated on his progress post-treatment.

    Thanks for sharing Susan,

    -The Lung Institute

  16. Susan Fullmer

    2 years ago

    My husband is 62 years old and has been diagnoised with COPD- EMPHYZEMA alittle over two years ago. Hes on oxygen 24/7. And has only 18% lung capacity left. My daughter and I have been working vigorously since June to raise enough money for him to have the Blood Stemcell Procedure done. Weve finally raised enough and he is schedualed to have the therapy done on Jan. 27-28-29 at the Scottsdale clinic. We are so excited to be able to have this done for him and well update everyone on his progress. We pray this is the answer to our prayers for him to be able to live longer and be able to live alittle better lifestyle.

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* All treatments performed at Lung Institute utilize autologous stem cells, meaning those derived from a patient's own body. No fetal or embryonic stem cells are utilized in Lung Institute's procedures. Lung Institute aims to improve patients' quality of life and help them breathe easier through the use of autologous stem cell therapy. To learn more about how stem cells work for lung disease, click here.

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