Weathering the weather
Apparently, there are new studies (or is it just assertions?) that weather has no impact on RA, to which I can only laugh in exasperation and mutter “Oh reaaallllly?” The first time I heard this was, ohhh… way back in the late 80s, I think, from Dr. Dean Adell, smugly and condescendingly responding to a question on the subject by saying that he can predict the weather – if he’s wet, it’s raining… and he was SURE those with arthritis can do about as well.
I’ve hated TV doctors from that moment on with a passion generally reserved for murderers and dictators.
I can’t fund a study – but I can speak with the authority of someone who has had RA for just about 30 years. I can speak for the fact that every person I’ve known with a joint related disorder also experiences sensitivity to weather. I’ve also heard from quite a few people who don’t have any arthritis, but do seem to be sensitive to barometric pressure.
I’m not even sure why its a question…. weather is a physical phenomenon… pressure is a physical phenomenon that is experienced in a physical way – why shouldn’t those who are prone to tissue swelling feel changes in atmospheric pressure? Why shouldn’t cold have a physical impact on the body the same way it does on other phsyical items (do you have to ‘believe’ that things swell when it’s cold? ever had a pipe burst?)?
Mostly I’m puzzled at why the very idea seems to threaten medical types so much that they have to keep declaring it a non-phenomenon instead of using it to help assess symptoms? Is it because there is no magic pill or shot that will prevent pressure caused by an incoming storm?
As for how I experience weather – its the change in the barometer that gets me, so I will experience rain that’s about 24 hours out, and symptoms will increase until the rain/snow/cats and dogs or whatever actually hits, then they will begin to ease up until it goes away – give me a week of rain and I can guarantee you that a few hours before its about to get sunny again, I’m going to be feeling like I’ve been run over repeatedly.
Weather symptoms are different from regular flaring activities. I get the nearly visual sensation of being flattened by a steamroller or squeezed by King Kong (those are the exact visuals that go along with it)…. pressure, a deflation of energy, massive brain fog and if it is a slow moving system that sits awhile before actually arriving, I can be found curled up in my chair trying not to let any of my parts touch in a half conscious state while my insides are doing a low thrumming. Not fun, very strange – and then there will be that shift when I can feel it rolling out, and I’ll say “It’s about to rain” and the skies break open.
With the rain, the pressure eases. It’s a bit different as clouds turn to sun, but it still generally bodes a day where I’m too tired to do much of anything.
So – I’m actually just fine in a wet climate, if it stays that way. And I adored the lack of symptoms that occured in Arizona, where other than once or twice a year having storms and flash floods, it was ‘sunny, hot an dry’ for 80% of the year.
Here in WV, we get four seasons – we’re known for our beautiful fall days – and I get a lot of weather based symptoms, whether or not I’m experiencing a lot of flare activity or just general stiffness.
I have to wonder how this disease is ever going to be solved with such simple and obvious truths as this are still being regarded as ‘all in our head’. Look, pseudo experts – if my imagination was powerful enough to create this level of reality, don’t you think it’d be raining men instead of squeezing me half to death?
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