Is the weather worsening your arthritis pain?

Arthritis can be a painful condition, and it affects a number of Americans in a variety of forms. The most common type in the U.S. is osteoarthritis (OA), affecting about 27 million people in the country.1 New research published in the journal Pain indicates that these individuals may find that humid weather worsens their discomfort. So, perhaps your grandparents were telling the truth when they said they could feel a storm coming.

More on OA
While medical professionals are unsure exactly what causes OA, it is the result of deteriorating joints. There are several things that may put you at risk of this common form of arthritis, including:

  • Obesity
  • Muscle weakness
  • Genetics
  • Overuse
  • Previous joint injuries
  • Aging

Reuters Health points out that OA sufferers often complain of increased weather if a storm is in the forecast, and researchers from Erasmus University Medical Center Rotterdam have recently found evidence to support these claims.2

Investigation findings
Authors of the study took a number of weather variables into consideration when conducting this two-year cohort study. Specifically, they focused on:

  • Relative humidity
  • Wind speed
  • Hours of sun
  • Barometric pressure
  • Precipitation
  • Temperature

Additionally, the Western Ontario and McMasters University Osteoarthritis Index (WOMAC) was used to track function and pain in the participants.3 While most of the weather factors did not seem to impact the self-reported WOMAC scores from those who took part in the research, barometric pressure and relative humidity did. In fact, for every 10 percent increase in humidity, there was a one point increase in pain on the index. As for barometric pressure, increases here were related to reduced function of the patients. Researchers saw a one point increase every time the pressure went up by 10 hectopascals. However, it is important to note that these scores were self-reported and the findings are from a small portion of the population – only 222 individuals. It is likely that OA patients will be satisfied to hear this news, so that they can better prepare for what to expect in terms of pain and function depending on the weather report. This may be as simple as take OA medications as a proactive pain prevention measure.

If you are suffering from OA, you may have other medical issues that require treatment. All of the medical supplies you need can be purchased online from Medex Supply. Some of the available products include:

1 Arthritis Foundation, "Learn about arthritis: Disease Center: Osteoarthritis"
2 Reuters Health, "Weather may truly affect arthritis pain" February 11, 2014
3 Pain, "Associations between weather conditions and clinical symptoms in patients with hip osteoarthritis: A 2-year cohort study" January 24, 2014

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