A new study has found that symptoms among people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) become worse when they are exposed to warmer indoor and outdoor temperatures.
The study was presented yesterday (18 May 2014) during the American Thoracic Society’s (ATS) International Conference.
Researchers observed a group of 84 ex-smokers with mild-to-severe COPD for three week-long periods, each spaced three months apart.
For each of these observation periods, participants filled in a daily assessment of their symptoms, including breathlessness, cough and sputum production; lung function; and use of rescue inhalers. At the same time, the temperatures of their home and outdoor environments were monitored.
The researchers found that increases in indoor temperatures were linked to a worsening of symptoms, decreases in lung function and heavier use of rescue medication.
They also found that, on warm days, increases in outdoor temperature were associated with more severe symptoms, but they did not affect lung function or medication use.
The researchers hope that their findings could have an impact on future COPD treatment strategies.
In a separate study, also presented during the ATS International Conference, researchers found that people with COPD are at a higher risk of heart failure than people without the disease.
The researchers compared the number of people with COPD and heart failure with the number of people with just heart failure. They found that 28.7% of people with COPD had heart failure, compared to 13% of those without.
Further research into the long-term impacts of both diagnoses is needed.
Learn about the factors that can cause lung disease and the ways to reduce your contact with them.
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