Living with COPD: Best Places to Live with a Respiratory Condition

Living with COPD means you're always thinking about breathing. And your surrounding environment has a big impact on COPD symptoms. That’s why some people consider relocating to optimize quality of life. If you’re thinking about moving in search of easier breathing, we’ve identified the major considerations that should factor into your decision:

Living with COPD: 7 things to consider before you move

1. Weather

Anyone who’s used to northern winters might assume that warmer is always better. But there is such thing as too hot. Very hot air can make it difficult to breathe, as can increased humidity. So before you trade in Wisconsin winters for San Diego sun, look for a spot that isn’t known for extreme temperatures or humidity in summer. Parts of the Pacific Northwest and Northern California feature relatively mild winters and summers, but may be prone to large snow dumps depending on the specific region.

2. Altitude

Air is thinner in cities located higher above sea level, which can make it difficult to breathe. Even otherwise healthy people may develop altitude sickness when travelling to higher places, experiencing symptoms that include:

  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Headache

In more severe cases (as seen in some mountain climbers) altitude sickness can be fatal.

If you’re considering relocating to improve your COPD, it’s a best to choose a city at a lower altitude than you currently live. People who already live at higher altitudes are likely to be acclimatized to their current surroundings, but going lower will usually result in easier breathing.

3. Smoking Laws

Even if you don’t smoke, other people’s cigarette habits can irritate your lungs and cause COPD flare-ups. Investigating the smoking laws of cities you’re considering moving to might help to sway your decision, especially if you plan on spending time in bars or casinos. Research by city instead of state; many municipalities have anti-smoking laws even when none exist at the state level.

4. Pollen

Maybe you’ve suffered from seasonal allergies all your life, or pollen only really started to bother you after you were diagnosed with COPD, the microscopic irritants have a presence in just about every US climate. Thankfully, there are particular cities that have consistently lower pollen scores.

In the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America’s 2018 Allergy Capitals report, several cities scored better than average pollen scores in both spring and fall, including:

  • Denver, CO
  • Boise, ID
  • Portland, OR
  • Seattle, WA
  • San Diego, CA
  • Daytona Beach, FL
  • Boston, MA
  • Raleigh, NC
  • Sacramento, CA
  • Washington, DC
  • Salt Lake City, UT

5. Pollution

In their annual report on the country’s air quality, the American Lung Association identifies two main types of pollution:

  • Ozone – A gas formed when pollutants react with sunlight and heat, ozone is a major component of smog.
  • Particle pollution – Tiny pieces of liquids and solids released by industrial and mechanical processes. Particle pollution can trigger acute cardiac and respiratory attacks.

Both of these factors are linked to COPD exacerbations and increased deaths from lung disease. Large urban areas are generally more polluted, but Southern California in particular features some of the worst air. Cities including Bakersfield, Los Angeles and Fresno have high levels of both ozone and particle pollution.

6. Access to Care

Moving means finding a new doctor. Choosing a remote location or one with poor health care infrastructure can make managing your COPD more difficult. Ask your current doctor for recommendations or a list of criteria you can use to vet potential medical care providers. Once you’ve decided on your final destination, set up an appointment with your new doctor or clinic ahead of time so you can establish a relationship as soon as possible.

7. Medicare Benefits

A significant number of Americans living with COPD are either already on Medicare or nearing eligibility. But where you live has an impact on the Medicare Part D plans that are available to you. Before you move, research plan availability and contact your insurance provider to find out if your premiums will change after relocation.

Buy COPD Medication for Less

Paying for expensive drugs to manage your COPD could make moving financially difficult. can help free up some of your budget with lower prices on COPD medication like Spiriva and Advair Diskus. No matter where you relocate, Canadian Med Center offers flat-rate shipping that delivers prescriptions right to your door. A Canada Drug Center can help you to search for your medication and place an online order from the convenience of home.

DISCLAIMER: The content in this article is intended for informational purposes only. This website does not provide medical advice. In all circumstances, you should always seek the advice of your physician and/or other qualified health professionals(s) for drug, medical condition, or treatment advice. The content provided on this website is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.