Warm weather is considered to be bliss for most of us, but it can have certain effects on people suffering from arthritis. There is a saying often shared by arthritis patients where they say that they can determine the weather based on how their joints are feeling.
Some arthritis patients have trouble in their joints where they suffer from joint pains and stiffness during winters while others during summers. It depends from person to person about their sensitivity to weather and also the level of activity and exercise plays a crucial role.
Even though the exact reason why arthritis pain is affected by weather is not known, there are two theories for the same.
According to the first theory, being active helps in relieving arthritis pain and during winters and damp weather, there is a less physical activity which aggravates stiffness and pain in the joints.
The second theory suggests that the pain felt in the joints is affected by the pressure in the air outside. Extreme temperatures hot or cold can cause a lot of discomforts.
What is Arthritis?
Arthritis not only affects joints but also has its effects on the tissues surrounding the joints as well as other connecting tissues.
Patients with arthritis experience tenderness or inflammation in one or more of their joints. Presently, more than 100 types of arthritis have been identified.
There are 5 commonly identified types of arthritis-
- Osteo Arthritis
- Ankylosing Spondylitis
- Rheumatoid Arthritis
- Psoriatic Arthritis
Effects of Summer on Arthritis
As there is more retention of water in the body during summer when the weather conditions are hot, one’s body tends to develop swollen joints.
The sensory nerves which are present in the joint continuously respond to weather changes. The fluids in the joints are also affected by humidity and temperature changes. These changes in the level of fluids tend to reduce the lubrication in the joints. This causes pain and inflammation as well as causes stiffness in the ligaments, muscles, and tendons.
With the rising humidity in the surrounding areas, there is an expansion in the ligaments, muscles, and tendons which causes an increase in the pain. The body can also feel dehydrated during humid days resulting in a decrease in fluids around the joints causing an increase in pain.
Apart from this, the change in barometric pressure affects the tendons and muscles expanding and contracting them. This leads to extreme pain caused by arthritis.
Summer also affects people suffering from chronic joint pain or arthritis making it intolerable for them.
Summer Care Remedies for Arthritis
Following these simple tips and remedies will help in relieving arthritis pain during the summer season.
Staying indoors is advised where the humidity and temperature in the environment are controlled. Staying out for a longer duration can lead to aggravation in the inflammation of joints leading medicines to be less effective.
Dehumidifiers can also be used for relief purposes.
It is very important to remain hydrated by drinking a lot of water and other fluids which help in maintaining the levels of electrolytes in the body. It is advisable to refrain from sugary as well as caffeine drinks and alcohol as these tend to dehydrate the body.
It is preferable to wear natural fiber and comfortable clothing. Cotton clothes are the best option as they are comfortable and loose. They help to evaporate the body sweat and help in keeping the body cool as well as to breathe.
Swimming and other water activities are a great way of staying active when the heat becomes too much for other outdoor activities. The pressure on the joints is relieved by the buoyancy of water while swimming.
Yoga and Exercise
Yoga and exercises are a great way of improving flexibility and joint pains. They also help in reducing the stress in joints. But it is advisable to consult your doctor before beginning any exercise or yoga.
Foods having anti-inflammatory properties and those which are rich in anti-oxidants should be eaten. It is best to eat seasonal fruits like watermelon, strawberries, cherries, and pomegranate, and more which help in reducing inflammation in joints.
vegetables like tomatoes, lettuce, beetroot, red bell peppers, and more are also good for summer.
There are certain foods that should be avoided such as salty food, food with preservatives, processed food, and food that are deep-fried. Drinks with a lot of sugar content including soft drinks and alcohol must be avoided.
During extreme heat, it is advisable to pour running water over the wrists or applying a washed cloth dipped in cold water to cool yourself. This helps in maintaining the temperature of the body.
Using ice packs or cooling pads directly on the joints is also advised.
Anti-inflammatory supplements should only be taken on the doctor’s prescription as they reduce the flow of blood to the kidneys.
Staying hydrated during the summer helps in preventing muscle cramps and heat strokes.
Despite extremely cold weather being unfavorable for patients with arthritis does not mean that summers are good for them. The body can be physically drained out during the summer season, even so, you must handle these extreme heat conditions smartly with the help of the tips and remedies given above.
You can make the most of the summer season without letting arthritis dampen your spirit of enjoyment.