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: The 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
Very hot weather can worsen symptoms for PH patients and increase their risk of heat exhaustion and dehydration. 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. Ronald Cole Weiland says:

    Hello, My Dear Friends.I was just diagnosed with PH.I am a 77 yr old Male, retired U.S. Marine and faceing the battle of my life. I was told by my Cardiologist my Lung pressure was 101 and the second Echo a week later as 102. I have had two bypass surgurys , the last one being 2012 with also a new Bovine aortic valve. I live in the Ft. Worth Texas area, and in 4 days will be evaluated at UT Hospital which has a research center in Dallas also. I have Medicare and no other insurance.I do not know what they will offer me. My internist and Cardiologist refuse to treat me as they no nothing about this disease and I feel do not want the Legal exposure. I have no family and live alone with just a few new friends, as I am new here. I have a good spiritual program and as a Catholic have received the last rites of my church. I fear I will not be accepted at Ut because of my inability to pay beyond Medicare. Thanks for listening and being here for me. I will keep you informed and God Bless each and every one of you. Ron Cole Weiland

  2. Ron Raines says:

    Hi Ron,

    I just wanted to reach out to you and tell you that you are not alone. I was diagnosed with primary PAH in 2004. At the time my pressures were 117 using a right heart cath (which is what you need to be 100% certain, I have had 15 over the years) to determine the condition after a year of wrong diagnoses. They told me I had between 18 months to 2 years to live.(That was 14 years ago) I went to a UF Shands Hospital in Gainesville who has a large research facility for PH and treat 256 PH patients. You need to get to a similar facility. Ask how many PH patients do they treat. Look up the PHA association and get on their web site they will be your biggest help.

    I know you can do this. It’s much easier than be a Marine I’m sure. 🙂

    If you need anything additional let me know.

    Ron Raines

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