As the Thermostat Goes up, COPD Symptoms May Worsen

COPD - American Health Council

High indoor temperatures appear to worsen symptoms of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD, particularly in homes that also have high levels of air pollutants, according to new research published in the Annals of the American Thoracic Society.

In “Respiratory Effects of Indoor Heat and the Interaction with Air Pollution in COPD,” Meredith C. McCormack, MD, MHS, and her Johns Hopkins University colleagues report on a longitudinal study of 69 participants with moderate to severe COPD during the hottest days of the year.

“Previous studies have found that the elderly are particularly vulnerable to the effect of heat and more likely to die or be hospitalized during heat waves,” said Dr. McCormack, an associate professor of medicine at Johns Hopkins and lead study author. “Our study builds on these findings by investigating exposure at the individual level, including in-home assessment of temperature and specific health effects of COPD. To our knowledge, this is the first study to report an interactive effect between indoor temperature and indoor air pollution in COPD.”

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