Arthritis can affect people throughout the year; however, the cold and wet weather makes it harder to manage its symptoms. Arthritis patients can face flare-up in symptoms as the cold and wet weather can increase the pain in the joints. There is a rise in pain and swelling of joints because of increase in muscle spasms and decrease in blood circulation. Many arthritis sufferers reveal that they can even predict rainfall due to their increase in joint pain.
How Does Climate Affect Arthritis Symptoms?
Various climate conditions affect arthritis patients as:
- High Humidity: It causes fatigue in arthritis patients. Various studies have shown that rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis patients are more affected by high humidity and they report more pain and flare-ups in such weather conditions.
- Low Barometric Pressure: The barometric pressure can bring out arthritis symptoms like pain and fatigue. Low barometric pressure clashes with blood pressure and therefore causes fatigue and joint pain.
- Cold Conditions: Cold weather make muscles and joints stiff.
- Warm, Dry Climates: Warm and dry climates are ideal for arthritis patients. Arthritis patients living in these climates report lesser flare-ups because warm and dry climates do not have the humidity, barometric pressure, or cold conditions.
What Can Be Done to Manage Flare-ups in Arthritis Symptoms Due to Cold Weather?
- Apply heat: Heating pads may help relieve arthritis pain.
- Dress in layers: It helps to provide more warmth than a single heavy sweater. Wearing warm compression gloves can improve hand function; however, grip strength can be reduced.
- Exercise: Cold weather usually causes changes to the exercise plans of people. However, in arthritis patients, lack of physical activity will cause stiffness in joints. Therefore, exercise should not be skipped even if the weather is not favorable. Exercise eases arthritis pain, improves strength and flexibility. Arthritis patients can plan physical activities that are easy to do during winter, like:
- Walking indoors
- Household chores
- Swimming indoors
- Using stairs instead of elevator
- Eat healthy: Eat well and try to limit sugar.