The official blog of the Lung Institute.
The weather may be beautiful, but what does it mean for those with COPD?
Florida – also known as “The Sunshine State” – is considered by many to be at the top of the list for places to retire. However, although Florida offers an array of beaches, cloudless skies, and comfortable weather, some of the most attractive conditions of Florida can be challenging – or worse, harmful – for those suffering from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). However, the air quality of Florida is not without its benefits. Although Florida sports excessive heat, pollen, and humidity; all of which can negatively affect those with chronic lung disease, it also offers a low altitude and clean air.
In this way, Florida continues to offer an interesting mix of conditions that may be beneficial as well as inflammatory. With your health in mind, the Lung Institute is here to explore these conditions and give you the information you need on living with COPD in Florida.
Here’s the Bad News
Let’s start with the bad news first. Florida gets hot. And due to subtropical conditions, Florida has a tendency to experience warmer annual temperatures than normal; temperatures that are often harmful to human health. Although many escaping the cold may see heat as the reason for relocating, excessive heat tends to have a negative effect on respiratory health, particularly when combined with the high humidity of Florida. Here is a Florida statistic as of 2010:
- Nearly 1.2 million people live in the 9 counties where average summertime temperatures set records.
- Florida experienced record-breaking heat in 20 counties and broke a total of 34 heat records.
Although there are a variety of theories behind these rising temperatures, what is known is that heat has an impact on cardiovascular and respiratory health, and respiratory morbidity (illness) and mortality (death) have been shown to increase with heat exposure.
Although Florida is generally known for its clean air quality, heat often increases pollen growth as well as pollution, which are known to have negative effects on respiratory health as well.
Aside from heat, humidity can have an effect on respiratory health. Humidity is described as an accumulation of water vapor in the air, often times a humid day feels “heavier” in comparison to drier climates such as the southwest and northeast. This water vapor in the air often has negative effects on pulmonary function, but also, the humidity itself can promotes mold growth, which can adversely affect respiratory health in those with chronic lung disease and without.
And the Good News?
The good news is that in comparison to nearly every other region of the country, Florida is consistently ranked as one of the best places to live for those with COPD. Due to a lack of pollution, spread out metropolitan cities, and the Florida Clean Air Act, Florida air quality is considered among the cleanest.
In regards to pollen, Florida also has one of the least challenging allergy seasons in comparison to other states, and its flat geography and low altitude makes breathing oxygen easier compared to high altitude states where oxygen is thinner.
Though the heat can be excessive, and even detrimental at its extremes, in comparison to cold-weather conditions throughout the rest of the country, Florida by large has fewer risks than those associated with severely low temperatures and snow. Due to the heat, Florida weather often means less clothes and less layers, which ultimately translates to less constriction of the lungs. In winter, Florida heat can also be a lifesaver, as snow in the North can add a variety of exhausting chores to your daily routine such as snow shoveling and daily errands.
Although Florida has its pros and cons, its weather offers a variety of benefits to ease the symptoms of COPD and other lung diseases. However, a change in location may ease symptoms, but it is impossible for weather to address them directly. And when those symptoms begin to challenge your quality of life, it may be time to consider stem cell therapy.
As the scientific community continues to put their best minds to the task of solving the problems of the human body, the Lung Institute will continue to bring these advancements to the public with the hope of bettering quality of life for those who need it most.
If you’re looking to take control of your health, don’t wait. 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 today to find out if you qualify for stem cell therapy.
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