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Caught unawares by the drop in temperature

Staff Reporter

Reasearch reveals that cold weather can cause those with arthritis to feel increased stiffness


How to deal with cold weather
  • Stick to the doctor's medication regime
  • Maintain a healthy diet
  • Sleep eight to 10 hours every night
  • Stick to an exercise routine. Try and include range-of-motion exercises

    BANGALORE: It is not winter yet, but 80-year-old K. Lakshmi is already complaining of stiffening of joints and increasing body pain.

    With the temperature dropping, persons with arthritis are experiencing body pain much sooner than they expected. "I usually develop these pains around mid-September. But this year it has set much sooner," Ms. Lakshmi says.

    Cold weather can cause those with arthritis to feel increased stiffness, research findings reveal. "There is no scale for the stiffness. But the most common weather-related complaints are joint and muscle aches," says Naresh Shetty, orthopaedic surgeon at M.S. Ramaiah Memorial Hospital.

    Arthritis is an umbrella term used for a group of more than 100 medical conditions that collectively affect nearly 200 million adults worldwide.

    In arthritis, the musculoskeletal system, and specifically the area where two or more bones meet, are affected.

    Arthritis-related joint problems include pain, stiffness in joints, inflammation and damage to joint cartilage (the tough and smooth tissue that covers the ends of bones enabling them to glide against one another) and surrounding structures.

    Wear and tear

    The wear and tear of bones and ligaments of joints can aggravate the condition in older persons.

    It may also be found among younger people who are continuously exposed to cold and damp conditions.

    In winter, the condition gets aggravated. Dr. Shetty says that those with arthritis have to work harder and exercise more in order to stay warm during the winter.

    While most people with arthritis move to warmer climes, research has shown that this will not really help them in the long run, Dr. Shetty says.

    Scientific studies have shown that once a person has developed arthritis, no matter where people live their bodies seem to set a new equilibrium with the local climate.

    As a result, changes in the weather affect the arthritis symptoms in the same manner regardless of the change in temperature.

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