- Have you ever experienced heightened pain during a change in weather?
- Your arthritis and autoimmune flare-ups just might be affected by barometric pressure.
- Here are some simple ways to help address adverse effects the weather may pose to your body.
Air pressure fluctuates depending on the air’s density, which is tied to temperature. Cold air is more dense than warm air, because the gas molecules are closer together and therefore have less velocity than their warm air counterparts. Air pressure is measured by a barometer, and is often referred to as “barometric pressure.” High barometric pressure is associated with warm air, and low barometric pressure is associated with colder air.
Why does barometric pressure matter?
A change in weather can mark an increase in pain and discomfort. That is because the barometric pressure is changing as a result. When the weather shifts from hot to a quick cold front, the addition of pressure at a rapid pace can create more friction in the movement process. Pain and added inflammation often result. The more drastic the changes in weather in your part of the world, the more often you may experience pain associated with flare-ups.
Barometric pressure is reported as one of the leading causes of flare-ups in people suffering from rheumatoid arthritis. However, studies are often varied, so there is still a bit of controversy over the extent of the role barometric pressure can play in arthritic patients. This 3 month study indicates that 200 arthritic patients experienced increased knee pain when barometric pressure was higher, or temperature decreased. If barometric pressure does play a role as indicated, the region or location of the research could also dramatically affect any results. A collection of recent studies further support the notion that humidity and temperature levels could dramatically affect the pain of those suffering from chronic arthritic conditions.
In the same way that arthritic pain is known to flare up during an unexpected thunderstorm, barometric pressure is believed to increase pain and flare-ups in patients suffering from other, varying autoimmune diseases. According to the American Autoimmune Related Diseases Association, Inc. (AARDA):
In general, weather extremes of any kind will place additional stress upon the body, which is usually not helpful for those suffering from a host of conditions, autoimmune and otherwise. Thus, generalized stress can increase the incidence and severity of autoimmune conditions in a non-specific way, simply by adding to the heightened physiological demands of the body during such periods. For instance, in very cold weather, bodily heat escapes quickly, leaving less energy and fewer resources available to deal with basic and enhanced requirements.
Periods of lowered body temperature can lead to additional complications like hemolytic anemia. It can also cause more frequent, painful flare-ups.