Arthritis and Weather: Fighting Flare-ups with HVAC Settings
Some folks only deal with hot-weather arthritis flare-ups in the summer. Other folks, like Florida residents, may have flare-ups all year long. But is it the hot weather, humidity, or cold air conditioning that affects arthritis the most? Are the effects different depending on the type of arthritis?
Ultimately, different people react to different environments. You may have more pain when the temperature dips, but we’re here to talk about pain from rising temperatures and humidity. We’ve put together the facts (and the gray areas), so you can fight joint pain with your lifestyle choices and HVAC settings.
Why Does Weather Affect Arthritis?
The scientific community hasn’t drawn a conclusive connection between weather and joint pain. However, studies highlighted by the Arthritis Foundation point to changes in barometric pressure and humidity. The key word here is “change”—people with arthritis have reported more pain when there’s a change in the weather. Why? There are two main theories. A pressure change may cause inflammation or thicker fluids in joints, or nerves in bones become more sensitive to pressure changes when they aren’t well protected by cartilage.
Feel that storm coming? You’re among the people who feel the most joint pain on cold and humid/rainy days. But not everyone feels the same way.
Additionally, joints’ aggravated response to weather may depend on the type of arthritis:
How does weather affect osteoarthritis (OA)? Several studies regarding weather and OA have been contradictory, especially when it comes to rising and falling barometric pressure. However, most seem to align in one area: higher humidity seems to worsen arthritis pain. Cold weather or cold indoor temperatures affect individuals differently.
How does weather affect rheumatoid arthritis (RA)? Because this is a less common type of arthritis, fewer studies have been conducted. Weather changes—not heat or cold—are one of the strongest potential factors in weather-related RA flare-ups.
Why Does Humidity Affect Arthritis?
There’s a strong relationship between high humidity and joint pain because higher humidity can cause vulnerable tissues to expand. As a result, many people with arthritis prefer warm and dry climates.
So, does a dehumidifier help with arthritis? If your body reacts similarly to the majority, then a dehumidifier could certainly help with joint pain. But it’s important to listen to your body, consult your doctor, and act accordingly.
If you believe a dehumidifier is right for you, connect with local dehumidifier experts to install or repair your unit.
Is Hot or Cold Better for Arthritis?
You’ve probably heard that warmer weather is better for arthritis, and this is true for the majority. If you have rheumatoid arthritis, your tolerance for cold might be better than someone with osteoarthritis. However, some people suffer more aches and pains in warmer or more humid weather than in cold temperatures. Ultimately, individuals react differently to various conditions.
If your arthritis is worse in the summer, consider whether it could be due to high humidity or a too-cold temperature setting on your air conditioner, not the outdoor heat.
Does Air Conditioning Affect Arthritis?
The relationship between air conditioning and arthritis is a chilly one—arthritis commonly becomes aggravated when the AC is cranked up. If that’s not true for you, you’re one of the lucky ones!
Complicating the matter, air conditioning can slightly reduce the humidity in a room, which may help reduce joint pain. A well-maintained air conditioner offers the best humidity control; schedule professional AC maintenance at least twice a year to make the most of your system. Maintenance is especially important in Pompano Beach, where your AC is affected by salt water and humidity corrosion.
Managing Arthritis in Pompano Beach—with HVAC Settings!
So, what does all this information mean for those of us who live in hot, muggy regions? With the guidance of your doctor, there are a few tactics you could try to mitigate arthritis pain in Pompano Beach, FL, and nearby areas:
Use your AC when you want to, but don’t turn the thermostat too cold! Experiment to find the most comfortable temperature.
Try a dehumidifier if your joints are most painful in humid conditions.
Experiment with indoor climate control factors—everyone is different!
Follow doctor’s orders regarding diet, exercise, etc.
Keep your HVAC systems maintained.
Florida air conditioning systems deserve an award for how hard they work! Treat yours to a tune-up from One Hour Air Conditioning & Heating of Pompano Beach. We know the challenges of maintaining AC systems in this sometimes-sizzling area! Call (954) 379-8260 today.