The influence of weather on rheumatism

The weather has a major influence on the severity of rheumatic symptoms. Research shows that for 70 to 90% of rheumatic patients the weather conditions play a significant role. Cold and damp conditions cause more complaints. Also when air pressure drops quickly and during thunderstorms rheumatic symptoms become worse.

Cold and damp

Rheumatism is a chronic disease affecting joints, muscles and tendons. Most people with rheumatism suffer from pain and stiffness in joints or muscles and fatigue. Bones and muscles have a different density with respect to each other. During fluctuations in temperature and humidity pain can be aggravated by the unequal stretching and contraction of joints and muscles.

When it is cold and damp most rheumatic patients suffer more pain and stiffness. When it is warmer the daily symptoms are alleviated. Warmth ensures a better blood circulation.

Thunderstorms and drops in air pressure

A rapid drop in air pressure causes membranes and fluids in joints to expand. The already inflamed tissue of rheumatic patients comes under even more pressure which causes an increase in pain. This is also the reason that some rheumatism sufferers also experience more pain when flying. Cabin pressure in an aircraft is considerably lower than on the ground. Thunderstorms also cause pressure fluctuations in the atmosphere.

Source: Rheumatism Foundation and "How the weather affects your health" by Manfred Kaiser

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