Study shows RA patients feel more pain on humid days
Can the weather affect how you feel? Many arthritis patients say it does. In fact, some believe that changes in the weather influence their symptoms, particularly pain and stiffness. And some say they can even predict the weather based on their symptoms.
New research suggests these patients may be on to something, especially when their symptoms change based on barometric pressure.
The weight of the air pressing down on the earth and oceans produces air pressure, which is measured using a barometer. Meteorologists often rely on barometric pressure readings to predict the forecast. Low pressure indicates cooler, mild temperatures, whereas high pressure means high humidity.
In a study of residents of Cordoba City, Argentina, a warm climate, scientists examined the relationship between weather and joint pain in 151 people with osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and joint pain. The study also involved 32 residents without joint pain.
Over the course of one year, participants with arthritic conditions reported mild pain on cooler (low pressure) days. However, RA patients felt more pain on humid (high pressure) days. The weather appeared to have no effect on the control group.
Other studies suggest that weather-based pain does not relate to changes in air pressure but more to the patient's perception of pain. Nonetheless, that feeling is real.
Overall, the research indicates that high humidity often creates an unfavorable environment for patients. Of course, moving to a cooler, more temperate climate is not that easy. But knowing in advance that high pressure might be coming can help patients prepare for any increased pain.
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