Does the heat and humidity of summer affect your fibromyalgia? I totally love and enjoy so much about summer, but humidity makes me feel nauseous and light-headed. I enjoy the heat if there’s a cooling breeze. As a side note, thunderstorms are one of my favorite seasonal treats.
In a recently published report in the journal Arthritis Care & Research, Dutch researchers followed 333 middle-aged women who had fibromyalgia. Looking for relationships between environmental conditions and reported pain and fatigue levels, the researchers monitored for over a month: humidity levels, atmospheric pressure, precipitation, temperature and sunshine duration, using data from a meteorological institute.
In some cases, they did find that weather changes had “significant but small” effects on the women’s pain and fatigue. But, for the most part, their conclusion was that evidence stood more strongly “against than in support of a uniform influence of weather on daily pain and fatigue.”
I completely disagree with those results as I know many, if not most, of you will as well. Damp rainy days increase my fatigue and pain. Cold days increase my pain, as I have really low tolerance of cold. Heat makes me feel better, but humidity is definitely not my friend.
According to a February 2002 study covered by Reuters Health Report and available on Disabled World, cool temperatures, humidity and high atmospheric pressure may be associated with spontaneous pain among individuals with fibromyalgia. “These results support the belief that weather influences rheumatic pain, albeit in different ways, depending on the (underlying disease) and (the patient’s) weather sensitivity,” Dr. Ingrid Strusberg of the Centro Reumatologico Strusberg in Cordoba City, Argentina, and colleagues stated in the report.
Strusberg’s team analyzed questionnaire responses from 151 individuals with fibromyalgia, osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis. In the study, participants reported on their pain symptoms and causes over the course of one year. For comparison, the researchers also observed 32 healthy individuals. These reports were correlated with meteorological data for the Cordoba area.
The researchers found that for participants with all three conditions — fibromyalgia, osteoarthritis, and rheumatoid arthritis — experienced pain was significantly associated with low temperatures.
In this study, published in the Journal of Rheumatology (on which the Disabled World article is based), pain was also related to high humidity and high atmospheric pressure among rheumatoid arthritis patients, and high humidity among osteoarthritis patients.
For those with fibromyalgia, pain was associated with low temperature and high atmospheric pressure. The authors noted that no correlation between weather and pain was found among individuals in the comparison group.
I would love to hear about your personal experiences with heat and humidity as it relates to your fibro symptoms. Do you agree or disagree with the above findings?
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