Despite living in Michigan my whole life, I have always been sensitive to the cold. But now, the winter is especially hard on me. My joints really take a beating during the winter. The mobility of my joints decreases significantly, and my pain level increases.
I know that I am much more sensitive to the cold now than I was before I got sick. It’s like the cold goes right through me and cuts to the bone. Likewise, I seem to always be cold.
But I never really considered this a symptom of the disease.
And this is kind of a chicken and egg kind of thing, right? Does rheumatoid arthritis make you cold or does the cold make rheumatoid arthritis seem worse?
One thing that I think many of us do instinctively when we are cold (or in pain, for that matter) is to wrap our arms around us, hugging ourselves. For me, this folding in on oneself is a very comfortable position for my joints, although it decreases mobility.
The main thing that works for me is hiding out under a warm blanket. When it’s wintertime, this is mostly what you want to be doing anyway. But an interesting thing happens to me during the summer. If it is really cold in Starbucks and I am drinking one of their cold drinks, my lips will turn blue and I will start shivering. This is the result of my having Raynuad’s.
If you have Raynaud’s Phenomemon, which many with rheumatoid arthritis do, this disease also reacts to the cold, causing fingers, toes, and parts of the face to go white and/or blue and then red when exposed to cold temperatures. If you don’t have it, it can be quite painful, and in severe situations, can require medication.
I’m not a doctor, so I can’t say for sure whether rheumatoid arthritis makes you cold, but I can say that to me, it is clear that rheumatoid arthritis and the cold go together.