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COPD Exacerbations Up After Ambient Temperature Increase

Last Updated: September 13, 2021.

MONDAY, Sept. 13, 2021 (HealthDay News) -- The risk for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) exacerbations is increased about two days after an increase in ambient temperature, according to a study presented at the European Respiratory Society International Congress 2021, held virtually from Sept. 5 to 8.

Supaksh Gupta, M.D., from the University of Washington in Seattle, and colleagues conducted a case-crossover analysis of 1,177 current and former smokers with at least one COPD exacerbation. The risk for COPD exacerbation was assessed based on ambient temperature at lag days 0 and 7. The mean age of participants was 63.7 years, and the mean time to first exacerbation was 603 days.

The researchers observed an elevated risk for exacerbation for increased temperatures during the preceding one to six days; at the two-day lag period, the risk peaked. Each 1 degree Celsius increase in temperature correlated with a 2 percent increase in the odds of COPD exacerbation two days after the elevated temperature, after controlling for relative humidity.

"Our findings raise concerns about the risk of increased exacerbations with climate change," Gupta said in a statement. "While not conclusive, the study suggests that those living with COPD may want to avoid exposure to adverse and extreme environmental conditions by limiting outdoor activities during periods of elevated temperatures relative to normal."

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