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Does Heat And Humidity Affect Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid Arthritis: Nhs On Common Signs And Symptoms

Does Weather Affect Arthritis?

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Arthritis flare-ups can occur for a number of reasons and will differ depending on the type of arthritis you have. According to experts from VeryWellHealth: “It’s common for people with osteoarthritis or inflammatory arthritis to link weather with their pain.”

Managing Your Arthritis In Warmer Weather

Weve been lucky to enjoy some warm days recently and while most of us love a bit of sunshine, the warmer weather can affect some people with arthritis.

People with arthritis often say that they can predict the weather based on how their joints feel. Some notice their pain and stiffness flares up in the cold and wet winter months, while others find hot and humid summer weather can make symptoms worse.

Dr Alastair Dickson, GP and health economist with an interest in rheumatology and arthritis, and trustee of the Primary Care Rheumatology and Musculoskeletal Medicine Society, says that some people are more sensitive to the weather than others.

It is unknown why weather affects arthritis pain, he says. One theory is that people are less active in cold, damp weather and keeping active is known to help relieve arthritis pain.

An alternative theory is that changes in barometric pressure affect the pain you feel. Temperature sensitivity is a common symptom of fibromyalgia, and extremes in temperature, whether it be hot or cold, can trigger flare-ups.

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Assessment Of Arthritis Symptoms

The arthritis symptoms, including arthritis scores and ankle joint swelling, were measured every 3 days after the second collagen injection. The arthritis severity in each mouse paw was scored every alternate day in a blinded manner according to the marginally modified method of Moore et al. and Khachigian . The arthritis scores were assessed as follows: 0, no swelling and redness in the foot joints 1, mild swelling and redness of the little toe joint 2, moderate swelling and redness of the toe joint and plantar joint 3, paw swelling below the ankle joint 4, all paw swelling including ankle joint is 4 points The total score of each limb was added to the total arthritis score of the mouse. The maximum possible score for each mouse was calculated as 16 in this study design. The ankle joint swelling was quantified by measuring paw volume using a YSC-7C paw volume meter .

The ankle tissue was also harvested from exsanguinated mice, flushed with 1 × PBS, dissected longitudinally, and fixed in 4.0% formaldehyde overnight, and decalcified in EDTA decalcification solution. The tissues were then embedded in paraffin. Sections of 5 m were cut from paraffin-embedded tissues and stained with hematoxylin and eosin to evaluate the damage of ankle tissue.

People With Arthritis Often Notice A Connection Between Humidity Or Temperature And Joint Pain Symptoms Heres What You Need To Know

Can Cold Weather Affect Rheumatoid Arthritis

Elisabetta Mercuri knows when its going to rain. My joints get achy, especially in my hands, she says. And when its cold and wet, the symptoms are even worse. It almost feels like theres ice in my fingers because they are so stiff, says Elisabetta, who has lived with psoriatic arthritis for close to four decades. And as Ive gotten older, my joints feel the weather changes even more.

Elisabetta is far from alone: Patients often say they can tell when its going to rain based on how their joints feel, says Anne R. Bass, MD, rheumatologist at Hospital for Special Surgery in New York City. Humidity seems to be the biggest culprit, but we actually dont know why.

Theres the rub: People with arthritis often notice a connection between humidity or temperature and joint pain symptoms, and may even report it to their doctors. Its a complaint Brett Smith, DO, a rheumatologist with East Tennessee Medical Group, hears often.

Patients note that certain weather changes tend to produce more stiffness, more aching and more pain, he says. They feel their body is a weather machine that can predict when its going to rain or when a cold front is coming.

More recently, our parent organization, the Global Healthy Living Foundation, presented findings from an observational study at the American College of Rheumatologys annual meeting in 2018. Results showed a correlation between various weather patterns and peoples self-reported symptoms, but the link was not strong.

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Cold Weather And Joint Pain

In one study, which looked at 245 patients with rheumatoid arthritis, it was found that older patients were more likely to report flare-ups during the colder weather.4

However, a more extensive analysis of nine studies in patients with rheumatoid arthritis failed to identify a link between the weather and pain.5

Does Heat And Humidity Make Joint Pain Worse

As we head into the Arizona monsoon season, you may be finding you have more trouble with joint pain.

Many people with arthritis find they have more stiffness and pain as the humidity rises and barometric pressure dropsas can happen before a monsoon storm. This may be because changes in temperature and humidity change the level of fluid in our joints.

In addition, the extreme Arizona heat alone can aggravate pain, simply by placing more stress on the body and making us more irritable and sensitive to discomfort.

Becoming dehydrated, which can happen quickly in the heat, can make things even worse because our joints need fluid to move smoothly.

What can you do to stay as comfortable as possible until things cool off? Try these tips.

If youre struggling with joint pain, the medical professionals at OrthoArizona can work with you to get back to enjoying the activities you love.

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Does Weather Affect Rheumatoid Arthritis

Here is the kicker:

There is no solid scientific evidence that suggests a correlation between arthritis symptoms and weather changes.

But various studies have proved that humidity does appear to have a clear influence on the symptoms of RA. The patients experience an increase in joint pain and stiffness as the weather becomes more humid. Though the reason behind it is not certain.

A 2015 study in which 800 patients suffering from osteoarthritis were included has shown that most of the patients experienced an increase in joint pain and stiffness in humid weather. The swelling and pain increased as soon as the weather became a bit cold.

This shows that there is some link between humid weather and symptoms of arthritis. But there is no research that can explain this correlation completely.

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Does Humidity Affect Rheumatoid Arthritis

Cold Weather and Joint Pain

Rheumatoid arthritis is a degenerative joint illness that worsens over time, if not treated properly. The symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis are also observed to worsen with weather changes.

Patients especially complain of increased joint pain when the weather is humid. Many patients say that their bodies somehow predict the weather as the joint pain accelerates when its about to rain.

It seems that there is some link between humid, cold weather and arthritis. Lets find out with scientific evidence whether humidity affects rheumatoid arthritis, or is it just a myth? You will also come to know about the ways to soothe your aching joints in rainy and cold weather.

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Pain Management: Tips For Dealing With The Heat

Regardless of how chronic pain is related to hot weather or humidity, the condition can cause significant problems that need to be addressed. When it comes to pain management or pain treatment and hot weather, these simple strategies can keep you feeling your best:

Stay indoors. Perhaps the easiest way to avoid weather-related pain is to avoid being outdoors when the conditions are inhospitable, said Ioonna Felix, PT, DPT, a physical therapist at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York City. Make sure you do not spend long periods of time outdoors, she added. If you do have to be outside, take frequent breaks to cool off indoors, and dont overexert yourself.

Adjust the air conditioning. Keep the air inside your home cool and keep the humidity low to treat pain. Invest in an air conditioner or fan, as well as a dehumidifier, Pappas said.

Eat and drink adequately. Stay hydrated with plenty of water , and eat a healthy diet to feel your best and keep chronic pain at bay.

Choose the right clothes. Dress for the weather. Wear white or light colors, especially natural fabrics like cotton or silk, that are loosely woven and loose-fitting, Dr. Lewis said.

Try cooling products. For a natural approach, remember that mint refreshes the skin and leaves a nice, cooling sensation, Lewis said. Try mint soap, lotion, or powder.

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Managing Arthritis During The Summer

Life with arthritis is certainly a struggle, but its crucial to find ways to reduce symptoms and keep living life.

One way you can help to manage your symptoms is by understanding how things outside of your control can exacerbate arthritis pain. Once you understand it, take the proper action to protect yourself. For many people, arthritis symptoms seem to get worse in the summer months, and theres a good reason for that.

Keep reading to learn more about arthritis pain in the hot summer months and what you can do to help alleviate it.

Summer and arthritis explained.

If your arthritis seems to flare up in summer, youre not alone, and you can blame the heat and humidity. The hotter it is outside, the more your body will be susceptible to swelling. The more prone to swelling you are, the more pain you will have.

Research shows that barometric pressure can also have some impact. The pressure changes outside can cause your joints to be more sensitive to pain. When the pressure changes, your joints will often feel tighter and stiff, creating a vicious cycle of swelling and pain.

If you live in coastal North Carolina, there is no avoiding the heat and humidity, so the best thing you can do it educate and protect yourself.

Hydration is key.

It is important to stay extra hydrated during the summer for these reasons, water helps keep cartilage soft and hydrated, and it promotes healthy blood volume, which allows nutrients to move through your blood and into your joints.


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Experimental I: The Effect Of Humidity On Arthritis

The DBA/1 mice were grouped into three groups : control group : kept in 50 ± 5% humidity environment and injected with 0.9 % NaCl solution on days 21 and 42 CIA group : kept in 50 ± 5% humidity environment and injected with 200 g bovine type collagen type II in 200 L complete Freunds adjuvant on day 21 and injected with 200 g bovine type collagen type II in 200 L incomplete Freund’s adjuvant on day 42 humidity CIA group : kept in 80 ± 5% humidity environment and the injection method with bovine was the same as the CIA group. The reasons of choosing 80% humidity were as follows: the 80% humidity was regarded as the boundary of high humidity in the previous literatures the 80% humidity could not affect the intake of diet and water in DBA/1 mice. The time course, grouping information and humidity fluctuations were shown in Fig. . The entire experimental period was 8 weeks.

Fig. 1

a The diagram of the experimental treatments is shown. b Variation of humidity in the cage per day

The blood was obtained from the eye socket vein on day 56 and then centrifuged at 3000 rpm for 15 min at 4 °C for serum. The arthritis score and ankle joint swelling were measured every 3 days after day 42. The DBA/1 mice with 16 weeks old were euthanized to obtained the hind limbs of mice including the ankle.

Is Cold Or Humidity Worse For Arthritis

How To Treat Rheumatoid Arthritis Pain In Hands

Anecdotally, doctors who treat people with arthritis, as well as researchers who study factors that affect arthritis symptoms, hear over and over that certain kinds of weather namely, cold fronts, where theres a drop in barometric pressure and an increase in humidity makes peoples arthritis pain and swelling

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Heat Humidity And Common Pain Conditions

During the summer months, especially in Texas, many chronic pain conditions are affected by humidity and heat.

  • Arthritis. One study suggests nearly 5% of older people with osteoarthritis claim that hot weather impacts their joint pain. Individuals with inflammatory arthritis experience pain when temperature and humidity rise due to the way joint tissue. Joint tissue expands and contracts when temperature changes and humidity increases, therefore triggering pain in those with inflammatory arthritis.

Arthritis pain may arise from inflammatory rheumatologic disorders, damage from injuries or osteoarthritis caused by regular wear and tear. In many patients, it is associated with nerve pain. It may also occur in people with gastrointestinal disorders.

Treatments for Arthritis/Rheumatologic Pain include:

Summer Humidity & Arthritis Pain

Similarly, many arthritis sufferers report feeling more arthritis pain when the air is filled with humidity. This could be because the bodys tendons, ligaments, and muscles expand when humidity rises and barometric pressure drops.4

Some studies also show that high humidity levels can cause sweating and dehydration which can make the blood thicker, which increases blood pressure in the blood vessels and makes the body work more to pump blood through the body.5,6 Humid days can also cause the body to become dehydrated, which can decrease the concentration of fluid around the joints and create more joint pain.6

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Stay Active And Hydrated

Staying active will help to keep your blood flowing. Aim to consume less salt salt makes your body retain extra water, while drinking more water can dilute salt levels. To ease the swelling, raise your feet or put a pillow under your ankles while youre in bed.

Professor Walker-Bone recommends using ice packs or having cool showers. Adjust the temperature of the water to suit your personal preference, she says. If you use ice, remember to wrap it in a tea towel first so it doesnt burn your skin. Cooling gels and sprays may also help. If youre sweating more than usual, this can make you dehydrated, so keep topping up your fluid levels with regular drinks.

If you have gout, its particularly important to avoid getting dehydrated, as this can trigger an attack. Read our managing gout top tips.

Stick To Your Arthritis Treatment Plan

How Humidity (Weather) is Causing Your Joints to Ache – Dr Alan Mandell, DC

Interview with Rajat Bhatt, MD, rheumatologist at Prime Rheumatology

Jena AB, et al. Association between rainfall and diagnoses of joint or back pain: retrospective claims analysis. BMJ. December 2017. doi: .

McAlindon T, et al. Changes in barometric pressure and ambient temperature influence osteoarthritis pain. American Journal of Medicine. May 2007. doi: .

Steffens D, et al. Effect of Weather on Back Pain: Results From a CaseCrossover Study. Arthritis Care & Research. July 2014. doi: .

Timmermans EJ, et al. The Influence of Weather Conditions on Joint Pain in Older People with Osteoarthritis: Results from the European Project on OSteoArthritis. The Journal of Rheumatology. October 2015. doi: .

What does it mean when a barometer is rising or falling? HowStuffWorks Science. . Published June 28, 2018.

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Ethics Approval And Consent To Participate

All animal handling and experimental procedures were performed following local ethical committees and the National Institutes of Health Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals. All efforts were made to minimize animal suffering and to reduce the number of animals used. All procedures performed in this study involving animals were approved by the Ethics Committee of Zhejiang Chinese Medical University.

Can You Prevent Arthritis Flare

Anyone with arthritis will tell you that planning ahead to avoid flare-ups is key. According to the Arthritis Foundation, a solid prevention plan is one of the best ways to manage your arthritis and avoid flare-ups.

People with weather-sensitive arthritis cant control the weather, but they can learn to prepare better for certain weather conditions and the symptoms that may accompany those changes. Here are a few things to consider:

  • Keep an eye on weather conditions for the upcoming days and weeks in your area, if keeping tabs on the forecast feels genuinely helpful to you.
  • Try to avoid being in harsh weather conditions, such as extreme heat or cold, for long periods of time.
  • Dress in warm, dry clothing when the weather is cold.
  • Dress in cool, loose clothing when the weather is hot and humid.
  • Adjust the temperature inside your home to be neutral , neither too hot nor too cold.

Outside of planning around the weather, its also important to have a prevention plan for any other triggers that can lead to a flare-up in your symptoms. So, if youre someone whose arthritis is negatively affected by things such as infection, illness, overexertion, or even emotional stress, your plan might also include:

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