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What climate is best for COPD?

11 answers | Last updated: Jul 06, 2015
cary asked...

With having COPD, would I be better off in the winter in warmer weather (Florida or Arizona)or cooler weather (Michigan)? Or does it really matter?


Caring.com User - Jennifer Serafin, N.P.
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Jennifer Serafin, N.P. is a registered nurse and geriatric nurse practitioner at the Jewish Homes for the Aged in San Francisco.
45% helpful

From what I know, there is no studies that show hot vs. cold climate has any effect on the course of COPD. The more important factor that you should consider would be air quality (pollution rates)of the area where you want to live, as areas with bad air quality would definitely cause breathing difficulty for a person with COPD. Another thing to consider is elevation above sea level, as higher elevations have less oxygen in the air, causing someone with COPD to work harder to breathe.

The best way to take care of your COPD is to make sure you get seen regularly by your health care provider, stop smoking, and take your medications as directed.

Good luck!


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50% helpful
Jodine answered...

I am a 51yr old woman with severe COPD, I was diagnosed at 35. I am on oxygen 24/7 and I take my oxygen sats several times a day. I highly recommend anyone with COPD or anyone caring for someone with COPD to purchase a pulse/ox, They are expensive, but they do keep you informed as to your oxygen levels so that you can increase or decrease oxygen or have an indication of how stressed your lungs are. Back on subject, I find extremes to be a problem, I have breathing difficulty when showering which is moist hot heat, however it is even worse in cold air, which will cause a healthy person to struggle to breathe. I also live at 5000' elevation. I have been instructed to relocate to a warmer lower elevation. COPD is terrifying, I don't think there's anything worse than struggling for breath, I have a natural tendency to panic, which in turn makes it worse. I think however the hardest thing for me has been the pulmonary specialists I have encountered, The first told me I would never see 50, the second couldn't guarantee I'd live three years, It will be 3yrs in June.I realize I am going to die, but I go to a Dr. to learn how to live, to live with as much quality and dignity as I can. I don't need anyone to tell me how to die. My point is simple, Yes COPD is terminal, but that doesn't mean lay down and give up. We are all born terminal without exception.


67% helpful
imbunky2 answered...

I have COPD, diagnosed years ago. I have had all types of medications including O2 in my home. I live in the Northeast US. I will be moving to the Northwest US, during the summer or fall this year.

I have found that as a very active person, the winters in the Northeast prohibit me from walking as MUCH as I'd like and for as LONG as I'd like. This activity, several times a day, actually has helped my COPD and arthritis tremendously. I no longer use the O2 (although it's still in my home). I haven't been hospitalized in 2 years and my LFT's have improved dramatically.

We have to make a life change and life choices. My dear family is here, locally, but I wish to see them for years to come - via Skype and occasional visits. In the meantime, I will enjoy new scenery, new friends and a new lifestyle.

Please note, I am in the lower income bracket. It's a DECISION I needed to make and was appropriate for me. I'm now looking forward to the future and rarely think of my ailments, other than to take my 17 medications, which I limit to 1/day, mornings only.

NOTE:(I was previously taking 27 meds: 1/2/3/4 times/day; before/after breakfast; @ bedtime. My life revolved around 13 Drs., Hospitalizations and Medication Regimens. I gained control of my life, after 1 month, at

an Assisted Living Facility. I was OVERDOSED. I left
AMA, with one of my children.


75% helpful
Hate copd answered...

My mom has end stage copd. She lived in north Dakota. Was suffering horrible with systems. Not breathing and could hardly do respitory rehab by that I mean she struggled just to get there. I flew her to my home in capo beach ca. Within a day.. She was a different person breathing WAY easier! Within a week she has been covering the whole floor of Costco shopping. (lol) then Kmart. She rarely does a breathing treatment and at home she was doing at least 3 a day. COPD- MEANS LIVE HEALTHIER EASIER AND LONGER AT SEA LEVEL.......


fuzzy 64 answered...

Drs also gave ne grave answers did not listen starded walking slowly, eating right, took it one day at a time, now i work out daily walking lifting weights,also important , off Oxy ,most of the Meds Dr. now says i am Poster Boy, We can get better!


50% helpful
Cliff47 answered...

JUst to chime in. I lived in Arizona for 40 years and thats where I developed COPD. LIved and worked in Phx area and the bad air pollution along with allergies did me in. I relocated for summers in Michigan and this past winter tried Florida. I did much better there. It seems to vary from person to person.


Jinks answered...

Wife and I live in southeast New Mexico. The allergies and dust storms with a 40 degrees temperature shift plays hell on our copd. When we travel closer to sea level we both can breath better as long as she does not get around city pollutants. Now it's a question on where to live at closer to sea level.


100% helpful
Beesandsoxfan answered...

I'm a Resp. Therapist and have done research on this. I treat COPD patients almost on a daily basis. If you're going to stay somewhere year-round, the best place in the U.S. to live if you have COPD is southern CA, southern AZ, and parts of southern NM. You want to stay as close to sea level as possible (air is thinner the higher you go, not good for COPD patients) and in an environment where it's not humid (because humidity tends to make it difficult to breathe due to airway resistance). So, Florida is not ideal, any state north of the Mason-Dixon line (due to the cold in the winter time which constricts airways), and mountainous states like Colorado are all not good. Hope this helps.


mary1962 answered...

I have COPD. I live in NJ , Mainly I had problems with Humidity, The heat level didn't matter if there was no/ low humidity. But the last two years our winters have been awful. So now I add in the bitter cold especially if there's wind will make it just as impossible to leave my house as the humidity.My family also met for a reunion in the PA mountains a few years ago and I could barely move the entire time we were there, but was fine again when we got back towards home. Based on these things I was thinking of heading to the southwest area. Then A friend of my son's Was put in the hospital with a fungus in his lungs. He was told he had Valley Fever and asked if he had been to the desert. He lived in Arizona for 2 years. He was in the hospital for over a month. A lung fungus on top of COPD doesn't sound like a good thing to me. So now I have no idea where I'm going but this article is pretty good st explaining what to stay away from and what to look for,. http://www.everydayhealth.com/copd/best-places-for-copd-patients.aspx


shellbum answered...

I have moderate COPD and have lived in the East, Southeast U.S. most of my life. A few years ago, I made a life changing decision to get out of the humidity..heavy air, after many years struggling to breathe, several hospitalizations and many infections. I moved from Florida to Tucson, AZ. It's approximately 3,000 feet above sea level here. I've gone from 29% FEV1 percentage to 37%!! I know emphysema isn't reversible, so aside from divine intervention, I can only credit the dry temperate climate of southern Arizona for my doing so well! I'm able to walk at least a mile a day with no oxygen, and be very active in other areas of my life now. I've watched Tucson's air quality for about 13 years. It's basically excellent. We are surrounded by mountains, which keeps the dust storms away, and unlike Phoenix, this area keeps as close to nature as possible, so the pollution is nil for a metropolitan area. Also, great pulmonary doctors, from 15 min to 3 hrs away.