Thursday, June 13, 2024

Does High Humidity Affect Rheumatoid Arthritis

Utilize The Tools Around You

What is Rheumatoid Arthritis? | Johns Hopkins Rheumatology
  • During the summer I stay inside the house all the time with the AC set at 68 degrees the struggle is real.
  • I stay in AC or I become very lethargic, achy and flu like. Other than AC, when it gets too hot I try to run cold water over my wrists and hands for relief.
  • I keep a mist sprayer in the fridge with a few drops of Peppermint essential oil, just shake well, and chill…when I get really hot, I just mist myself.
  • I apply cold packs to my joints that are hot or stiff to bring some relief and cool down.
  • I have ceiling fans to keep me cool.
  • I use ice packs on the back of my neck and it really cools me down.
  • I open windows and turn on fans.

Many of you shared how important it can be to use cooling systems or tools at home or work. Air conditioners, dehumidifiers, fans, ice packs, or even wet towels may all provide relief when humidity and high temperatures take their toll.

What To Do When Rain Causes Pain

While you cant avoid changing weather, you can take steps to prevent, ease or relieve weather-related joint pain. Dr. Bolash recommends:

Stay limber Stretching regularly and doing yoga are great ways to increase flexibility and maintain joint health. Building muscle may also help. The more muscle you use during physical activity, the better able those muscles are to support your joints.

Do water exercises Working out in a warm pool is especially good for loosening stiff muscles, strengthening joints, building muscle strength and easing discomfort. Water provides resistance while lifting the weight from aching joints.

Consider anti-inflammatory medication or treatments For patients with pain in a single joint such as the site of a former knee injury for example we might pursue steroid injection or other treatment, says Dr. Bolash.

Overall, maintaining mobility is the best way to fend off widespread joint pain without visiting your physician and thats true in any kind of weather, Dr. Bolash says.

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.

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Don Light But Warm Layers

Many types of fabrics and the weight of some jackets or boots are off-limits for me with my rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis. A too-heavy jacket or hat can irritate my joints and muscles. I make a point to only wear looser, lighter fabrics to avoid any extra irritation. Its also important to find fabrics that dont make me overheat or layer up because RA can make your temperature increase, which can get uncomfortable if you are going in and out of buildings with the heat turned up. You dont want to carry around heavy layers or get overheated and sweaty.

Does Weather Affect Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid Arthritis Humid Weather Diet Fingers  transilvaniagallery ...

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 Alternating Heat And Cold Therapy Help

Many people find it beneficial to alternate between heat and cold therapy. You can switch between hot and cold therapies throughout the day. Usually, its best to wait at around 20 minutes between sessions, though you can also alternate between hot and cold water in the shower. Always start and finish with a cold treatment.

Talk with your doctor before alternating between full-body treatments such as an ice bath and a sauna or hot tub.

Opportunities For Activity Year

Bright, warm weather offers plenty of opportunity for year-round outdoor activity, a crucial part of managing osteoarthritis. While aches and pains can tempt a person to take it easy, over and again research shows that movement helps in painful joints.

Pro-tip: In colder but still arthritis-friendly cities like Denver, bundling up is key to staying active outside year round.

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Why Is My Arthritis Worse In The Summer

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.Jun 1, 2020

Applying Heat Vs Cold To An Arthritic Joint

Rheumatoid Arthritis Of The Hand – Everything You Need To Know – Dr. Nabil Ebraheim

Using heat and/or cold therapies on an arthritic joint is a simple, inexpensive alternative treatment that can help to alleviate pain, stiffness and swelling. Read:Alternative Treatments

Heat can relax muscles and help lubricate joints. Heat therapy may be used to relieve muscle and joint stiffness, help warm up joints before activity, or ease a muscle spasm.

Learn more: When and Why to Apply Cold to an Arthritic Joint

Alternating heat and cold. Some people alternate between heat and cold therapy. For example:

  • A patient may be encouraged to use heat therapy to warm up a joint before physical therapy exercise and to use cold therapy after exercise.
  • A person can use heat therapy in the morning to loosen up an osteoarthritic knee and use cold therapy to reduce swelling a few hours later. This process can be repeated throughout the day.

Cold therapy is recommended for certain types of arthritis that cause painful inflammation flares, such as gout and pseudogout. People with other types of arthritisincluding but not limited to osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and ankylosing spondylitismay benefit from both heat and cold therapy.

Learn more:

There are no universally accepted guidelines for when to use heat or cold therapy on osteoarthritic joints, and recommendations are mixed.16 People with osteoarthritis are advised to experiment with both heat and cold therapy to find what works best for them.7

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Practice Some Gentle Exercise

If youre looking for ways to stay active without doing harm to your joints or causing a flare-up, try performing some low-impact exercises while staying warm inside. Practicing yoga is an excellent way for those with arthritis to stay fit starting out with simple, gentle steps, you can build strength and flexibility while avoiding any poses that put too much weight on your joints. If youre someone whose arthritis affects their hands and fingers, gentle hand stretches are also a great way to improve your mobility while at home keeping nice and warm.

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Increased Viscosity Of The Synovial Fluid

Synovial fluid is in the joints to make them flexible and movable. Cold and humid weather might increase the density of the synovial fluid and this might make joints stiff and painful.

All the factors mentioned above aggravate the symptoms of arthritis in humid weather as the inflammation and pain increase. This is why its best to follow a few remedies as soon as you experience a change in weather.

Along with home remedies, you should also consult your doctor in humid weather so that they prescribe a few painkillers and soothing medicines to help you cope with the weather conditions.

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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.

What Kind Of Weather Makes Arthritis Worse

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While research on the link between arthritis and weather is still limited, current studies suggest that there are a few different weather patterns that can have a worsening effect on arthritis pain.

Lower temperatures during colder months are often reported to be a cause of increased joint pain in people with arthritis. Generalized joint pain, more specifically in the knees, is a common complaint that we hear during fall and winter seasons, Lauren Farrell, MSPT, a physical therapist and clinic director of Professional Physical Therapy in Hoboken, New Jersey, tells SELF.

But what is it about the colder months that seems to aggravate arthritis pain? One 2020 study published in Pain Research and Management suggests that, surprisingly, an increase in humidity levels may be to blame. In this particular study, self-reported joint tenderness and pain in participants with rheumatoid arthritis were directly connected to increased humidity levels during winter.2

You might not associate humidity with teeth-chattering weather , but an increase in humidity can actually make frigid temperatures feel even colder. This, in part, explains why people with arthritis might notice more pain during those damp, cold days associated with the Southeastern areas of the United States, as opposed to dry, cold weather in the Southwest. However, experts also believe that this increased pain might have to do with the way that blood flows through the body when were cold.

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The Arthritis And Weather Connection

Many people with arthritis claim that weather affects how they feel. Some people believe that symptoms of arthritis, such as joint pain and joint stiffness, are influenced by changes in the weather. Is there actually a connection between arthritis and weather? If yes, why is the effect of weather changes on arthritis true for some people, but not for others? And, finally, if this connection exists, what is the best climate for someone with arthritis? Should they start packing and move as soon as possible?

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I Am Far Less Physically Active

Lets face it: Who wants to exercise outdoors with RA in the winter? Even to venture outside to go to a gym can be a mental battle. I have to really fight with myself and my fatigue on the days that it rains, which is often here. Vancouver is a rainforest and rainy days make me want to do nothing but drink tea and nap. However, as glorious as that sounds, when I am less active, my arthritis symptoms increase. When I nap too much, my sleep schedule gets even more out of whack.

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

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.

Why Does Cold Rain Make You Hurt

Harmful effects of humidity

Scientists dont know for sure why changes in weather can make some people hurt, or why it affects some people more than others. But they do have a few theories.

Dr. Starz believes at least some of the increased pain comes from decreased activity. We know that physical activity relieves arthritis pain. And when the weather is unpleasant, people tend to hole up inside. That inactivity can lead to more pain.

Other scientists offer physical reasons behind the pain. Changes in barometric pressure can cause expansion and contraction of tendons, muscles, bones and scar tissues, resulting in pain in the tissues that are affected by arthritis. Low temperatures may also increase the thickness of joint fluids, making them stiffer and perhaps more sensitive to pain during movement.

Dr. Starz agrees, The mind-body connection is strong. If warm sunny weather makes you feel better psychologically, youll probably feel better physically as well.

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How Can Weather Can Affect Arthritis

In 2019, the Cloudy with a Chance of Pain study, led by consultant rheumatologist Professor Will Dixon at the University of Manchester, assessed how weather affected more than 13,000 people in the UK with long-term health conditions, including arthritis and fibromyalgia.

Participants used a smartphone app to record their daily symptoms and thing that affected their pain levels (such as sleep patterns and daily exercise, while GPS on their phone provided accurate weather reporting.

The study, funded by Versus Arthritis, found that damp and windy days with low atmospheric pressure increased the chances of experiencing more pain than normal by around 20 per cent. Barometric pressure may affect your joints more than humidity, rainfall and temperature.

According to the Met Office, high pressure tends to cause fine, warm weather, while low pressure can lead to prolonged rainfall and flooding.

Does Damp Or Wet Weather Really Make Arthritis Pain Worse If So How

Donald A. Redelmeier, a professor of medicine at the University of Toronto, explains.

People with arthritis often believe that changes in the weather cause flare-ups of their disease. Decades of medical research, however, have failed to establish an objective relationship between arthritis severity and weather patterns. Moreover, detailed interviews with specific patients have yielded mostly anecdotes, and those who move to drier climates do not report major relief.

The specific idea of dampness affecting arthritis symptoms seems an unlikely mechanism for a number of reasons. The skin surrounding joints is rather impervious to water and most people stay dry indoors during rain anyway. In addition, arthritis patients do not experience dramatic changes in their symptoms when immersed in water . Wet weather may also be associated with other climatic conditions, such as decreases in barometric pressures. But even this connection seems implausible, given that much greater pressure swings are tolerated easily during plane travel or mountain driving in a car.

Another weather component is humidity, which might enter the body through the respiratory tract. But this seems an unlikely contributor because hospitalized patients are often given humidified air to breathe and this has little apparent effect on arthritis conditions. Furthermore, a long shower does not usually induce arthritis pain.

Answer originally published September 6, 2004.

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Best Climate For Rheumatoid Arthritis

Although a change in weather doesnt affect the course of the illness, yet warm weather is considered to be a period of less pain. Warm, dry weather helps reduce inflammation and makes your joints less painful.

Whereas, cold weather may cause joint pain and stiffen the joints. Thats why you might have noticed an increase in pain and inflammation in the cold season.

So the best climate for rheumatoid arthritis would be a warm and dry climate with low humidity levels.

Experimental I: The Effect Of Humidity On Arthritis

Rheumatoid Arthritis and Weather: How the Seasons can Affect Your Pain

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.

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