So … does climate affect arthritis? The surprising answer next …
The weather may … or may not affect the symptoms of arthritis
One of the most controversial topics in arthritis is this … Does climate affect symptoms? Well, maybe we have an answer to this puzzling problem. Nancy Walsh writing on her blog in Medscape reported on a Dutch study of 712 survey participants residing in Germany, Italy, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Spain and Sweden … a variety of climates.
The average age of the patients was 73 years, 72% were women and 67% were considered "climate sensitive".
When researchers compared climate-sensitive patients with those who were not considered sensitive, they found that women, the less educated, and the more anxious and depressed patients were often more sensitive.
Climate-sensitive people also had less sense of control over their lives.
Among the 469 individuals considered to be climate sensitive, almost 40% said that wet and rainy conditions worsened their symptoms, 30% said that only the cold bothered them, and 5% said that warm weather was worse for their pain. A small number reported an increase in pain with cold and hot weather, or with rain and cold and heat.
Interestingly, the percentage of patients who were sensitive to climate was higher in hot and dry climates such as Spain and Italy (77%) and lower in the cold and humid climate of Sweden (57%). In addition, residents of hot and dry climates reported more intense joint pain than those in cold and wet climates.
The possible explanations suggested by Erik Timmermans, the main author, included the biological:
"Changes in temperature and humidity can influence the expansion and contraction of different tissues in the affected joint, which can cause a response to pain, and low temperatures can increase the viscosity of the synovial fluid, making the joints more rigid and perhaps more sensitive to the pain of mechanical tensions ".
The theory of the exhibition:
"The climates in both Mediterranean countries are warmer compared to the climate in Sweden, as a result, older people with osteoarthritis in Italy and Spain may be more often outside than in Sweden … As a result, they may be more aware of the effect of climate on your pain and you are more likely to report climate sensitivity. "
And the mind:
"The course of osteoarthritis disease is often characterized by a low level or absence of symptoms with periods of recrudescence or exacerbation." Uncertainty about the recurrence of pain can cause anxiety in people with osteoarthritis and this may encourage the desire to have an explanation for the worsening of your pain. "
In any case, "the common belief that joint pain in osteoarthritis worsens when living in cold, damp weather is not supported by our results," they said.
They concluded that the clinicians' appreciation of the possible weather of older patients, wherever they live, can be key. "Early treatment of climate-sensitive people with osteoarthritis through cognitive and psychological interventions can reduce suffering and can help them maintain a functionally effective lifestyle," they concluded.
Comment: So there it is … your answer.
Video credits to Nathan Wei YouTube channel