• Here is another composite letter of questions we often get concerning altitude and the value of moving to a different climate.
  • Sharon writes, "I have COPD and bronchiectasis and am wondering what to do. I live in Denver where the medical care is excellent. While I am not on oxygen, my lung functions are gradually getting worse. Should I move to sea level and live with my family in Hawaii to avoid using oxygen?"
  • Dear Sharon,
  • This is a question that only you can answer. Many factors need to be considered, such as leaving behind a support system, friends and a neighborhood that you love. How much do you enjoy being in Hawaii when you visit? Have you ever stayed for more than a few weeks? There is no doubt that the medical care for pulmonary patients doesn't get much better than it does in Denver. However, there are also very good hospitals and pulmonologists in Hawaii depending upon where in Hawaii your son lives. He needs to check the availability of oxygen and how long it takes to get to a medical center if he lives on one of the less populated islands.
  • Being at sea level can make a big difference in oxygen needs, but this is something you need to discuss with your physician. It is certainly possible that even in Denver you may not need oxygen in the foreseeable future. If you have an asthmatic component, the increased mold in that moist climate can exacerbate symptoms or even create new ones for some people. The increased humidity in itself is a problem for some, especially those with bronchiectasis, while helpful for others. Denver has a very dry climate so that will be a big change for you. Do you feel better when you visit your family in Hawaii?
  • Perhaps your physician can help you with some of these questions also. There are many things to consider before anyone makes such a big move. While we haven't given you a specific answer I hope we have given you some things to think about.
  • Good luck!
  • Do you have a question about respiratory disease that has been bothering you? If so, feel free to write and ask us, either through our web site or by mail. We answer all of your letters.