Does living in a dry climate affect COPD symptoms?

Sea shore asked...

My mom has COPD and and I was wondering how a dry climates affect people with this disease? I am looking at a couple jobs in Phoenix, AZ we live in central Florida at the present and the warmer climates do make a difference. The cold doesn't work for her.

Expert Answer

Loutfi S. Aboussouan is a staff physician for the Cleveland Clinic's Respiratory Institute and Neurological Institute. He is board certified in internal medicine, pulmonary disease, critical care medicine, and sleep medicine and directs the pulmonary curriculum for the second-year class of the Cleveland Clinic Lerner School of Medicine.

There is a popular impression that dry and warmer climates may be better for patients with COPD and other breathing disorders. For instance, Arizona was often promoted for patients with various lung diseases including asthma and tuberculosis. However, there is no research confirming that notion. Air pollution in the Phoenix area has also been a recent concern, particularly since pollution is recognized as a possible cause of COPD flares. In the balance, much depends on what worsens your mother's COPD. So for example, if she has overlapping allergies triggered by molds or dust mites that flourish in humid environments, then a dryer climate may be beneficial. Alternatively, if she is prone to exacerbations or flares of COPD this should not necessarily limit your choice to move. You already indicate that warmer climates make a favorable difference in her case. I would make sure she follows the air quality alerts. If possible try to have her visit the area for an extended period before the move.