Patients with rheumatoid arthritis(RA) will say that a drop in the temperaturebrings an increase in their jointpain. A recent study now backs up thatview. A researcher at the Institute ofRheumatology at Tokyo Women'sMedical University, Japan, stated that"the differences in weather and climateare having an impact"on RA patients'levels of pain and discomfort.
The investigators collected datafrom 1800 RA patients betweenOctober 2001 and April 2004. Thestudy participants' average age was58 years, and they had suffered fromRA for an average of more than 10years. The study looked at thepatients' disease activity, tender jointcount, swollen joint count, healthassessment questions, pain scale, andlaboratory test results that indicatedamount of pain and inflammation, aswell as their response to treatment.
Both objective and subjective resultsindicated that the patients experienceda significant decrease in RA symptomsfrom spring to fall, and an equallymarked increase from fall to spring. Theresearchers concluded that "awarenessof this very real influence on [RA]patients should play a role in more effectivetreatment management."Theresults of the study were presented atthe annual scientific meeting of theAmerican College of Rheumatology inSan Diego, Calif.