Winter weather can be enjoyable, but for people with Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA), the cold weather may signal inflammation and flare-ups.
If you find that your RA symptoms tend to worsen with changes in the weather, you’re not alone. We all probably know at least one person who can predict the weather by the ache in their knee.
Why do changes in the weather increase your arthritic pain, and is there anything you can do to ease your suffering?
Cold and Wet Weather Increase Inflammation
Studies have shown that people with RA reported symptom flares during inclement weather. Furthermore, researchers found that barometric pressure was significantly lower during times when people with RA were experiencing pain and stiffness.
RA flare-ups are often more common during winter due to colder temperatures and low humidity, which can exacerbate inflammation in the body. It’s essential for anyone dealing with RA to pay close attention to changes in their symptoms, as well as any feeling of being extra exhausted or achy.
Lowering Your Inflammation
To help minimize your RA symptoms during the winter season, try to keep your stress levels low and stay active. Make sure you’re getting out at least every couple of days. A good walk or a light jog in the park can do wonders for both your physical health and mood. Yoga is an excellent way to engage in low-impact activity that is easy on your joints while lowering your stress levels.
In addition to exercising, keep hydrated throughout the day with plenty of water and hot herbal teas. Avoid processed and fried foods, red meat, sugar, and alcohol. Ensure that you eat healthy meals filled with omega-3 fatty acids, Vitamin D, and other anti-inflammatory ingredients. Citrus fruits such as oranges, lemons, and limes are also excellent in helping to relieve inflammation.
If possible, use heat treatments such as warm compresses or hot water bottles on painful joints – just make sure not to overheat, as that could cause more harm than good.
To further help minimize joint discomfort, you can take proactive steps to stay warm and dry to keep your joints as healthy as possible. For instance, it’s important to dress appropriately for the weather if you know cold or damp conditions are coming up. Layers are great because they provide extra warmth while also allowing you to adjust your layers based on the temperature fluctuations outside. Likewise, wearing waterproof shoes and avoiding walking through puddles whenever possible can help keep your feet dry as you tackle various activities throughout the day.
Finding the Right Treatment for All the Seasons
Managing RA during the winter can be challenging, but it can be done. If you want to learn more about creating an individualized plan for managing your RA, contact us to schedule an appointment. Our professional and caring staff at Advanced Rheumatology of Houston treat patients with various chronic conditions. We will sit down with you and work on a treatment plan that fits your lifestyle and needs.
Call us at (281) 766-7886 to find out how we can help you manage your RA and start enjoying life again!