Viruses present in colder temperatures increase the symptoms and trigger chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD,) new research shows.
Seasonal factors may further exacerbate COPD and could further reveal the link between respiratory illness and temperature, suggests research by Imperial College London and published in the International Journal of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease.
The researchers looked at several factors, specifically viral infection prevalence and it was shown that In the northern hemisphere, patients had an 80% increase in symptoms in the winter months with 9% of patients having exacerbations between December and February compared to 5% in June to August. In the southern hemisphere, there was a 71% increase with 12% of patients having exacerbations in their winter months (June–August) compared to 7% in summer (December–February.)
Researchers cited a previous study that suggested cold air, when breathed in, can cool the nasal epithelium and have negative effects on a person’s respiratory defenses.
COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) is a progressive disease that makes it hard to breathe, according to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute. Symptoms of the disease include coughing with heavy amounts of mucus, wheezing, shortness of breath and tightness of the chest. The leading cause of COPD is smoking, with other contributors including air pollution as well as dust.
November 19 marks World COPD Day which aims to raise awareness about chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and improve care across the world. COPD is the third leading cause of death in America, according the CDC and the WHO predicts that COPD will become the third leading cause of death worldwide by 2030.