Managing arthritis symptoms in summer heat

For many individuals living with osteoarthritis, seasonal changes, particularly the onset of summer, can exacerbate joint pain, making everyday activities more challenging.

While it’s a common belief that temperature fluctuations impact arthritis symptoms, emerging evidence suggests that changes in barometric pressure may play a more significant role in joint pain and swelling.

Barometric pressure, also known as atmospheric pressure, is the force of the air surrounding us. Research has demonstrated that fluctuations in barometric pressure can affect pressure within the joints. One cadaver study revealed that low atmospheric pressure could throw the ball of the hip joint off track by more than one-third.

Additionally, your joints house pressure receptors, and when a low-pressure system brings rain or higher humidity, arthritis symptoms are more likely to worsen.

As summer unfolds, individuals with arthritis can take proactive steps to manage their symptoms and maintain an active lifestyle:

  • Stay hydrated: Proper hydration helps reduce inflammation and supports overall joint health.
  • Protect your joints: Use assistive devices or adaptive techniques to minimise stress on your joints during daily activities.
  • Dress appropriately: Wear loose, breathable clothing to stay comfortable in the heat.
  • Plan activities wisely: Schedule outdoor activities during cooler parts of the day, such as early morning or late evening.
  • Consider natural supplementation to help with joint health. Talk to your GP or pharmacist.

What is osteoarthritis?
In New Zealand, osteoarthritis affects 10.6% of adults. European people are more likely to have (12.5%) osteoarthritis than Māori (7.1%), Pacific (4.8%) and Asian people (2.5%).

Osteoarthritis is a condition characterised by the deterioration of cartilage, the cushion between the bones in our joints. When this cartilage wears down, joints become inflamed, leading to pain, swelling, and stiffness. Various factors contribute to an increased risk of developing arthritis, including:
• Genetic predisposition
• Age
• Gender
• Joint injuries
• Obesity

Did you know?
Globally, osteoarthritis is the third most rapidly rising disability, behind diabetes, and dementia.


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