The Influence of Climate on Pulmonary Hypertension


Pulmonary hypertension (PH) is a disease that can easily be affected by certain climatic factors. It is important that patients are aware of these to help manage their disease in different environments. The Pulmonary Hypertension Association has some helpful information regarding how climate can affect pulmonary hypertension patients.

MORE: Pulmonary Hypertension Association explains the disease 

High altitude 
High altitude has a significant impact on PH patients. Low atmospheric pressure causes lower oxygen levels in the blood and the blood vessels in the lungs to constrict, causing an increase in pulmonary pressures, both in PH patients and healthy people. This can cause symptoms to worsen and a decrease in exercise capacity.

Low humidity can also cause lung irrigation and make symptoms worse due to the dry air.

Warm weather
PH patients are at a higher risk of heat exhaustion, dehydration and heat stroke in very hot weather. It’s important to stay hydrated and avoid caffeine and alcohol. Wear light, loose clothes, sunblock and use a wide sun hat. Try to stay in an air conditioned environment, rest regularly and avoid physically exerting yourself during the hottest part of the day.

Cold weather
As colds and flu are more common in cold weather, it’s even more important to maintain good health.

Although staying indoors is a good escape from the cold, don’t forget that dry, hot air can irritate lungs as well. Keep your outside exposure to a minimum, as cold air can take your breath away. Always wear a scarf to protect your face.

Wear layers and a hat to avoid risk of hypothermia, and heat packs inside gloves to keep hands warm. Keep your home prepared for comfort when you return indoors — warm clothes and slippers at the ready and even a hot drink readily prepared in a thermos.

Always store extra warm clothes, blankets and food in your car and inform someone of where you’re going in case you break down.

MORE: 10 essentials for your PH emergency kit 

Pulmonary Hypertension News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.

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  1. Andrea Rice says:

    Believe living in a cooler climate is much healthier than living in a hot humid climate. Currently living in the southeastern United States and plan on moving soon. Can’t take the heat and this affected me way before was diagnosed with PH. Now that this illness has arrived I notice more often how out of breath I am and it is disabling. Recently had a series of breathing tests done and found that my oxygen level is at 49% and with the treatments received my oxygen level reached into the high 90’s, so I feel there is hope and it has been suggested that I get on oxygen. One area I don’t care for is all the steps it takes to get things done. Next in line is blood work and there is much needed. Oh well, no biggie just have 2 complete each process so I can get on the oxygen suggested. For the time being going to hire a caregiver to accompany me when I leave my home for errand running. Don’t like going alone and fear as I am walking slower and slower and taking more rest breaks that I could be a candidate to get messed with by someone that may think they can rob me, rape me, or kill me. How will I protect myself? Running away isn’t an option now. I have thought of coming up with my own ideas 4 protection like a squirt gun filled with household bleach for starters. Either way having a companion is better for me perhaps they know some karate moves that could come in handy.

    • Pharmer says:

      I’ve had PH basically all my life. Went on oxygen 10 years ago after surgery for ventral hernia. But if you get the oxygen, there’s your self defense you could knock someone silly with one of those tanks even the little ones. But you have to keep yourself fit with low impact exercise and work, because hauling them around will drag you down.

      • Andrea Rice says:

        Thanks, hadn’t thought of that. I have seen some folks on oxygen carrying a black bag on their arm with the tubes coming out of this. Perhaps there are other options for oxygen, don’t know hasn’t been discussed with doctor yet.

        You say you’ve had this your whole life. Can I ask how old you are. I’ve read children and young adults in their 20’s can get this illness 2.

        Appreciate your comment.

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