Arthritis is a disease that affects a large number of the population. The disease is characterized by joint pain and stiffness. Some people have noticed that their conditions seem to worsen on cold, wet days. This raises the question whether arthritis symptoms are affected by weather and in what way.
According to Dr. Robert Shmerling, the clinical chief of rheumatology at Harvard-affiliated Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, people have been concerned with how weather can affect their arthritis symptoms without getting any good answers. Despite this, there is still some useful information about the subject.
Arthritis symptoms can be affected by many potential weather factors such as humidity, temperature, precipitation or barometric pressure. Studies have tried to see how all these weather factors affect patients but the results were inconclusive. In some of the cases the results were even contradictory.
There have been two recent studies that had more results regarding the subject at hand. According to both studies, weather does have an impact on arthritis symptoms.
The first study was conducted by Dutch researchers and involved 222 people who suffered from osteoarthritis of the hip. The researchers compared their reported symptoms with a variety of weather variables. They discovered that during a two-year period, the pain and stiffness experienced by arthritis patients were slightly worse when barometric pressure and humidity were higher.
The second study involved more than 800 adults who suffered from osteoarthritis of the hip, knee or hands. In this study, the patients didn’t had their symptoms affected by the weather, but the researchers noticed a link between humidity and increasing pain and stiffness. This link was more visible in colder weather.
Now the question is how exactly does knowing if specific characteristics of the weather have a negative effect on arthritis pain and stiffness help us. Not all people can pack their bags and move to a more arthritis-friendly climate.
The information about how arthritis symptoms are affected by weather is useful even though it doesn’t immediately leads to a new treatment or prevention strategy. By identifying a link between a specific type of weather and joint symptoms we might be able to better understand the causes and mechanisms of arthritis symptoms, which could further lead to better treatments or strategies.
We may also be able to better understand why some people experience more discomfort in certain environments while others aren’t the least bit affected. The results of the studies might be able show us the subtle differences between types of arthritis and how different individuals respond to them.
Now, despite the fact that the studies show that this is true for the average patient, this doesn’t necessarily mean that it is true for all the patients. Some of them may have a different body type that we aren’t quite familiar with.