My wife Kathy tells me that while she was growing up in LA, she was miserable. Her family and social life was great, but she was constantly sick, suffering from headaches, and was generally physically sick most of the time. She thought this was normal until she moved to NY for graduate school and she then felt that the fog finally lifted. She felt so much better, with much more mental clarity and energy than ever before.
Her parents had a similar but opposite effect: My father-in-law had similar issues as with Kathy, including chronic nasal, sinus and allergy issues. His nose was runny all the time. My mother-in-law was fine. Then after retirement, they moved to Atlanta, and the problems reversed: my father-in law felt much better and my mother-in-law began to suffer. Once they came back a few years later, the problems reversed again.
Your first reaction may be that LA and Atlanta have very different pollens, of that LA is notorious for smog. But how do you explain my in-laws’ complete reversal in symptoms? One major aggravator of chronic nasal and sinus problems is the weather—your nose or sinuses can over-react to pressure, temperature, and humidity changes. You can even over-react to chemicals, scents, odors, or perfumes. What you may think as an allergy may not be an allergy at all.
Having a stuffy nose can aggravate sleep-breathing problems in the following way: Due to a vacuum effect that’s created downstream in the throat, the tongue can fall back and obstruct your breathing more often. This is why you’ll toss and turn more whenever you have a cold. You can imagine if your nose is stuffy for weeks to months, your sleep quality will be significantly diminished, and you won’t feel that well.
In retrospect, I have many patients that tell me that their sinus problems started only after moving to NY.
Are you “allergic” to certain cities? Please enter your answer in the comment area below.