Managing Rheumatoid Arthritis Through the Winter Months

Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune disorder that occurs when your body’s immune system mistakenly attacks healthy tissue. RA affects the lining of the joints causing pain and swelling that may eventually lead to joint deformities and bone erosion. Many people with RA experience symptoms in parts of the body unrelated to joints such as: skin, eyes, kidneys, lungs, and nerve tissue. Most people begin to notice symptoms of RA in the joints that attach their fingers to their hands and their toes to their feet.

You may have heard claims from people with RA stating they could predict the weather based on their symptoms. Several studies have been conducted regarding the weather-pain link, but unfortunately the jury’s still out on whether or not the weather, or even changes in barometric pressure are key factors for increased joint pain.

The good news is that there are ways to help you cope if cold temperatures have left you with higher pain levels than usual. First off, layers, layers, layers.  Keeping warm is key and helps your body to keep from tensing up which can cause more pain. Piling on the layers of clothes helps you to stay warm because heat gets trapped between each layer.

While winter can certainly take its toll on you physically, it can have an emotional impact as well. Did you know that people with RA are twice as likely to suffer from depression? Take care of yourself! Eat a healthy, balanced diet and find ways to keep your energy levels up during gloomy days.

Learn to be prepared. RA flares can come and go, just like the weather. While some people may experience more symptoms in a cold climate, others may feel more symptomatic in a warmer climate.

Living with the severe joint pain associated with RA can be a struggle. If you or someone you love is looking for new treatment options when it comes to managing symptoms associated with rheumatoid arthritis, studies are enrolling now. Qualified participants have access to potential new medications, and receive care from board-certified physicians and other medical staff. Those that qualify may also be compensated for time and travel expenses. CLICK HERE to learn more about this exciting research opportunity.