Tropical Weather Linked to More Emergency Department Visits, Study Finds

Tropical Weather Linked to More Emergency Department Visits, Study Finds
Moist, tropical weather types are linked to an increase in emergency department (ED) visits for people with fibromyalgia and other pain-inducing disorders, a study found. The seven-year analysis of patient data and daily weather types also found that moist polar weather is associated with fewer ED visits. Researchers suggest that the disparity may be due to weather-related engagement in outdoor physical activities that increase the risk of pain. Specifically, patients may be more likely to take part in more outdoor sports and activities on warmer days, they said. The study, “Relationship between synoptic weather type and emergency department visits for different types of pain across the Triangle region of North Carolina,” was published in the International Journal of Biometeorology. Weather, and specifically atmospheric conditions, have long been reported as inducers of pain and other symptoms in a phenomenon known as meteoropathy. Cold temperature, high humidity, and high atmospheric pressure have all been associated with increases in pain in fibromyalgia patients. However, the results of past research of meteoropathy are inconsistent. Now, a team led by scientists at the University of Georgia and Mississippi State University sought to determine if there is a relationship between weather conditions and pain in people with fibromyalgia and other pain-inducing conditions — and if so, to quantify it. They focused on patients with four diseases: fibromyalgia, rheumatoid arthritis (RA), osteoarthritis (OA), and general back pain. Pain inducers were measured by the number of emergency department visits. “The goal was to find a link between pain and air masses and do some type of pain forecasting,"' Christopher Elcik, PhD, the study's lead researc
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