Notes to Know About COPD/Asthma – COPD/Asthma and the Weather – Part 1

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It is always important to know what is going on in the world of COPD/Asthma, hence a new weekly (at the minimum) posting of ‘Notes to Know about COPD/Asthma’ – because those of us battling the issue should always be up to date on what is going on, and that includes both the positives and the negatives of the COPD/Asthma life.

With the weather recently having trouble trying to figure out if it still had some winter to throw at folks before spring totally settles in, it seems logical to touch base with the effects of COPD/Asthma from what is happening with the weather.

So, let’s see just what possible effects that you should be watching for when the weather may be getting ready to change or may be settling in for a lengthy period of being either hot or cold and/or dry or humid.

Special Note – This writer, who has been a severe asthmatic since early childhood, remembers his mother referring to him as her human barometer because when the weather was getting ready to change, she would know just by the changes in my breathing or lung stamina.  So, for nearly a lifetime, this writer has dealt with the weather and the games it plays on my lungs and breathing.

With that I encourage you to stay alert, because this is just part one, of two parts, from a lengthy article which I put together from a posting on a medical internet site for which I forgot to write the name down of when I copied to share the article itself.

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The Connection Between COPD and Weather – Part 1

How the Weather Impacts COPD Symptoms –

When seasons change or some front moves in, COPD patients are often the first to notice. Living with compromised airways makes you more sensitive to particles in the air, as well moisture content, air pressure, and temperature.

A big fluctuation can bring on a COPD exacerbation, but even relatively mild changes can lead to shortness of breath, increase in mucus, and a general feeling of discomfort from head to toe.

You may not be able to control the weather, but you can limit its unpleasant effects with a few careful adjustments. The first step is understanding your individual weather sensitivities, and how they link to common COPD triggers.

The Strain of Hot and Cold –

When temperatures swing to either side of the thermometer, your respiratory system must work harder to pull in extra oxygen to keep your body at a healthy temperature. COPD causes airways and lungs to react more drastically to changes in air pressure and composition:

Extremes lead to exacerbations. Some patients are more sensitive to temperature extremes than others, but experts insist that anything below freezing or above 90 degrees are bad for anyone living with COPD. Frigid temperatures tend to fatigue those with a chronic lung condition, wind can worsen COPD symptoms, and heat can cause your airways to inflame and constrict (which leads to bronchospasm).

Barometric pressure. Not surprisingly, the weight of the atmosphere can have a fairly big impact on lung comfort. Barometric pressure is a way to calculate how heavy the air feels – that is, how much moisture is suspended in the air. Warm air holds more moisture than cold air, which means water molecules take up more space, leaving less room for oxygen molecules. So, on days with high barometric pressure, you will take in less oxygen which each breath.

How Lungs React to Moisture and Humidity –

COPD reactions, like asthma attacks, are notoriously difficult to predict. Some find humid days more comfortable, while others breathe easier in warm, dry air, and although you could fall on either side of this equation, experts believe that minimal humidity is best for COPD patients. In the end, you should aim for a 40% humidity level (both inside and outside of your home), which will limit some common triggers, like:

Mold > The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that those with COPD are more sensitive to mold, and humid air is the perfect breeding ground. Mold exposure can irritate the throat and lungs, lead to more wheezing and congestion, and worsen asthma symptoms.

Dust mites > When humidity levels climb above 50%, dust mite populations grow. Most people with chronic lung disease will agree that dust is high on the list of triggers, so it’s important to do what you can to limit the buildup.

Exertion > Humid air has a high-water content, which makes it denser, and harder to work. In very humid environments, every breath can become a conscious effort, as the lungs continue to resist airflow and act of inhaling continues to sap your energy.

Keeping humidity down is not as easy as you might imagine. Heating and cooling systems kick into gear when seasons change, and it can be difficult to detect relative humidity just by feeling alone. A humidity monitor is a great tool for COPD patients, and a simple addition to your home air management plan.

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‘Notes to Know about COPD/Asthma’ will continue to feature writings from medical folks and caretakers who share insights into the world of what may be going on in the world of COPD/Asthma.  ‘Notes to Know about COPD/Asthma’ can be found at either wheezingaway.com or within the Facebook page, COPD Travels.

Remember – ‘a person without good breathing, is a person without a good life’, so let’s do what we can, to learn what we can, to improve what we can.

I bid to all – smiles, prayers, blessings and steady breathing – Mr. William.

(Copyright@2017, CrossDove Writer through wheezingaway.com – no part of this write may be used or copied without written permission.)

NOTES: Sometimes we share what may seem like medical information, but we are only giving descriptions and highlights of various aspects of having COPD and/or asthma and no way do we ever want our information to be considered medical treatment type of information, always consult your physician for more, clearer and more medical founded information.

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