Does Weather Affect Psoriatic Arthritis?

Julie Cerrone | Dec 20th 2016 Apr 10th 2017

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What does the forecast look like this week where you live? Is it cloudy with a chance of achy joints? Sometimes, as patients, we feel our bodies are better at predicting the weather than our local meteorologist. And there is definitely merit to it! You’re not crazy. Here are eight things you need to know about weather and your psoriatic arthritis.

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What Is barometric pressure

Barometric pressure refers to the weight of the surrounding air. When temperatures fluctuate, the weight in the air changes and can affect your joints. Although studies have been inconclusive, it has been shown that every 10-degree change in temperature can correspond with an increase in arthritic pain.

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Barometric pressure and your joints

If you buy a balloon at the store and take it into the cold, you’ll notice the volume in the balloon will decrease. But, once you get it into your warm car, it will fill up again and be reminiscent of when it was first blown up. The same happens in our joints. The body responds to pressure changes, which cause that same expansion and contraction.

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What happens when it’s cold?

If the weather is rainy and overcast, the barometric pressure drops. This drop in pressure activates baroreceptors in our bodies, which expand tendons, ligaments, and muscles. This expansion will irritate and cause inflammation and pain in the body. And if you have weakened bones, they’ll likely respond to pressure changes as well.

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What happens when it’s hot?

Maybe we should all move to a warmer climate to avoid that expansion? Well, high humidity causes an increase in pressure in our blood vessels, which forces our hearts to pump harder. You may notice more sweating, which can lead to dehydration and body fluid loss.

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How to handle heat problems

It’s extremely important to keep our bodies hydrated as our joints and spine require high water content. If we’re dehydrated, this can cause these areas to become aggravated and cause pain. Therefore, it’s important to drink your water and stay hydrated when the temperatures go up!

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How does weather affect psoriasis?

In addition to your joints, weather can also affect your skin. When it’s cold out, we tend to layer up and stay indoors. Cold air, and the heat indoors, can cause your skin to dry out. When it’s warm out, we tend to wear fewer layers and spend more time in the sun. It’s speculated that exposing our skin to more natural light helps clear up psoriasis.

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What about other arthritic symptoms?

Research shows that weather can affect your mood, allergies, blood pressure, headaches, and many other symptoms. Our bodies are interconnected, so you can bet that if one thing flares up, it may set off another. That’s why it’s so important to track your symptoms and the weather when you experience them to learn about your weather triggers.

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Which climate Is the best for psoriatic arthritis?

You can read article after article about how winter causes psoriasis flare-ups or how warm weather is great for arthritis joints — but which is the best? Because each of us has our own triggers, it depends on your own body. That’s why it’s imperative that you track your symptoms and identify what climate works best for your own body.

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In conclusion

Want to help predict what kind of week you’ll have? Pop on over to the Arthritis Foundation’s weather predictor and enter your zip code. Let it help you plan out your week! If you live in the UK, you can take part in a study that’s occurring measuring patient’s symptoms and weather. To learn more, and to see if you qualify, check out Cloudy With A Chance of Pain.

NEXT: Poses for PsA: Exercises for Hand Stiffness and Pain
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