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COPD and Weather?


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#1 Tim

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Posted 27 February 2008 - 11:53 AM

Hi Helen,

I have had a very bad Breathing Week so far.

We had a weather front blow in Tuesday and before the Rain and
Snow started, I felt like someone was sitting on my chest. It was almost
imposable to draw a breath. Neb Treatments Helped but until it actually
started raining, I had problems breathing.

As soon as the rain starts, it's like someone released the rope around my throat
but I was so exhausted and full of congestion, it wasn't much relief.

Wednesday was the same but today, the front has moved on and we have
partly cloudy skies. I can breathe again but expect things to get worse
again tomorrow as we have another front moving in.

My Question is why am I affected so much by the weather and is this a common
thing for people with lung disease?

#2 Helen RRT

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Posted 27 February 2008 - 03:14 PM

Hi Tim,
I am not sure how common this is but I do not think it is uncommom...there just isn't a lot of good research to tell us why this happens to some and not to all. It seems that weather has more of an effect on patients with asthma, but patients with COPD are also affected. It is also known that some patient say hot,dry air is best for their breathing while others swear that a humid environment is best. One thing we do know is that when storm fronts move in there is a drop in the barometric pressure. The barometric pressure affects how much oxygen is available to your lungs ( % of oxygen x PB = oxygen available to our lungs). People with healthy lungs will never notice a difference - but people who have lung disease and an already lower level of oxygen, might be affected differently.
The same concept is true when you go to higher elevations. The barometric pressure on Mt. Everest is very low...about 250 mmHg at the summit...the percent of oxygen there is still 21%, just like it is anyplace else, so (0.21 x 250 = 52) this provides only 52 mmHg of oxygen to climbers there to begin with. However at average pressures of 750 - 760 we have a lot more oxygen available to us; (0.21 x 760 = 159mmHg). Perhaps when the rain starts, the front has already passed through and there is more humidity in the air - and the combination of the two might make it easier to breathe. I don't know if this helps at all?
Helen





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