Does Weather Really Affect Arthritis?

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In the 1960s, a famed arthritis specialist named Dr. J. Hollander orchestrated a study to demonstrate how high levels of humidity along with low barometric pressure increased stiffness and joint pain in patients who suffered from arthritis. The fibromyalgia sufferers in this study indicated more pain only during days of high pressure. At the end of this study, no significant links between changing weather patterns and an increase in arthritis pain were ever found. Why Weather is Believed to Affect Arthritis Pain
” Cold and rainy weather is often accompanied by a distinct drop in air pressure. The Types of Weather Changes That May Affect Arthritis Pain

” Barometric or air pressure: Although rising barometric pressure, which is the amount of force or weight exerted by the air around us, may also affect some types of arthritis pain, more often than not it is a rapid decline in air pressure, such as the drop that’s associated with stormy weather, that causes an increase in aches and pains.
” Humidity: The amount of water vapors in the air is referred to as either humidity, absolute humidity, or relative humidity. – Temperature: Cold weather has long been associated with arthritis pain and stiffness in the joints, as well as triggering a host of other conditions such as migraine headaches or circulatory problems. For example, in one arthritis pain study, people living on the western coast of the United States in a milder climate reported just as much pain as those living in the eastern, colder portion of the country.
www.help-with-arthritis-pain.com

Does the Weather Really Affect Arthritis?
For as long as man has been aware of the changing weather, there has been speculation that it may also affect one’s health and certain ailments besides simply altering the temperature.
Hippocrates, the ancient Greek “Father of Medicine” suspected as long ago as 400 B.C. that different weather conditions have a great influence on how our bodies feel. A few thousand years later, the modern world of science and medicine is still divided on whether or not fluctuations in the weather actually affect some health conditions.
Arthritis, and its numerous forms, is just one of the conditions that some believe is directly affected by the weather and changes in barometric pressure. A great majority of people diagnosed with arthritis say they can easily predict the weather based on how they’re feeling, or how sore or tender their joints may be, making perfect sense of the saying “I’m feeling under the weather.”

Although there are many people with arthritis who swear by this meteorological method of gaging the severity of their pain, there still is no actual scientific evidence to back up the claims.

Weather and Arthritis Pain Research
In the 1960s, a famed arthritis specialist named Dr. J. Hollander orchestrated a study to demonstrate how high levels of humidity along with low barometric pressure increased stiffness and joint pain in patients who suffered from arthritis. He indicated that neither of these weather changes individually had an impact on pain, but only when they occurred simultaneously.

Dr. Hollander concluded that when barometric pressure drops, the swelling around inflamed joints increases, causing more irritation to the surrounding nerves, which then also increases the amount of pain felt. This particular study has been refuted by many scientists as inconclusive due to the small number of patients (12) who participated.

One similar, more recent study also examined the association between arthritis pain and the weather involving people diagnosed with osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and fibromyalgia, which is another rheumatic disorder causing sore, tender joints. All of the participants lived in the same, warm climate and kept a log for one year, recording any changes in their level of pain. These logs were then compared with daily changes in the weather such as the relative humidity and temperature.

In this study, some people with rheumatoid arthritis seemed to be most affected by high levels of humidity and air pressure, while others in the osteoarthritis group felt more pain when only the humidity was high. The fibromyalgia sufferers in this study indicated more pain only during days of high pressure. However, none of the findings were strong enough to rely on just the weather itself to predict impending changes in pain levels.

Yet another research study involved over 100 people living in Florida who were diagnosed with osteoarthritis. For two years participants were told to score the severity of their arthritis pain so that researchers could match the results with local temperatures, whether or not there was precipitation, and what the barometric pressure was for each day. At the end of this study, no significant links between changing weather patterns and an increase in arthritis pain were ever found. However, some women did report experiencing more pain in their hands when barometric pressure was its highest.

Why Weather is Believed to Affect Arthritis Pain
Cold and rainy weather is often accompanied by a distinct drop in air pressure. One theory exists that this drop in pressure causes the body’s tissues to expand, causing the already inflamed areas to swell more and increase pain. And then there are those doctors who argue that just a gloomy, rainy day itself may cause some to feel as if their pain is worse than it actually is.

Another theory simply suggests that people’s threshold for pain drops along with the air temperature. Therefore, colder weather affects one’s mood, making people less likely to be outdoors, remaining active, and getting the exercise that helps keep some arthritis pain under control.
There are also those who believe that arthritis sufferers look to the climate as an explanation for their increase in pain simply because there is no other plausible reason, only noting when the weather is inclement, but not noticing weather conditions as much when their pain is under control and stable.

The Types of Weather Changes That May Affect Arthritis Pain

- Barometric or air pressure: Although rising barometric pressure, which is the amount of force or weight exerted by the air around us, may also affect some types of arthritis pain, more often than not it is a rapid decline in air pressure, such as the drop that’s associated with stormy weather, that causes an increase in aches and pains.

- Precipitation: Precipitation, meaning any form of water reaching the ground, includes not only rain and snow, but hail and sleet as well, and is accompanied by changes in air pressure and humidity.

- Humidity
: The amount of water vapors in the air is referred to as either humidity, absolute humidity, or relative humidity. Increases in absolute humidity, which measures the amount of water vapors in relationship to the amount of moisture the air can hold at that particular temperature, are said to cause an increase in arthritis pain especially during the summer months.

- Temperature: Cold weather has long been associated with arthritis pain and stiffness in the joints, as well as triggering a host of other conditions such as migraine headaches or circulatory problems. Temperatures that quickly rise or fall are again the result of changes in barometric pressure.

It’s important to remember that although certain types of weather may adversely influence some of the symptoms of arthritis such as pain and swelling, there is no scientific evidence that those climate changes are what causes one to develop arthritis in the first place, or to suffer from joint damage.

While it’s true there is some evidence that some people living in drier, more arid places have fewer episodes of arthritic pain, there is no type of environment that guarantees complete relief from arthritis pain. It is also known that temperature and climate changes do not affect the actual course or progress of the disease.

People considering relocating to a warmer climate may want to consider the fact that most scientists believe that the body acclimates itself to its new environment over a relatively brief period of time. Which means that moving to a dry climate may seem to provide relief at first, it isn’t believed to be beneficial over the long-term. For example, in one arthritis pain study, people living on the western coast of the United States in a milder climate reported just as much pain as those living in the eastern, colder portion of the country.
If you aren’t able to spend time outside for exercise, be sure to compensate by exercising and remaining active indoors during times of inclement weather.

In many Asian countries and parts of Europe, homeopathic treatments are rather common for dealing with the pain associated with arthritis. Various herbs and natural substances are often combined to create remedies for arthritis pain as opposed to using traditional medications. Of course, as is with any type of disease or condition not just arthritis, a proper diagnosis by a qualified medical professional is imperative for any successful pain relief treatment plan.
www.help-with-arthritis-pain.com

About the Author: David Freeman is an author and expert on Arthritis and Joint Diseases. He has had many articles published on this subject. Most notable, his website www.help-with-arthritis-pain.com has provided many people with some hope and understanding of their various diseases and how to cope with the pain.

For more information:
www.help-with-arthritis-pain.com
The site that Mr. Freeman has built includes not only traditional western medical “cures” but also Tai Chi, Acupuncture and other non traditional medical approaches to dealing with the pain of joint diseases. There is also an extensive video web page and the latest research is provided on a news page. Finally, there is a forum that provides communication between people so that thoughts and ideas can be shared.
Get the latest joint disease news here.

Article from: http://www.easyarticles.com/article-90436.htm

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