The NRAS Blog

Thursday, 10 June 2010

Summertime Blues

Well, I hope that everyone is enjoying the lovely sunny days that we’re starting to experience. We Brits are hard to please; when it’s hot it’s too hot and the plants are dying, when it’s rainy we complain that we only had a couple of days’ sunshine that week and in the winter we dream of a white Christmas, but we don't like the travel chaos it causes!

The effect of climate on RA is something that we get calls about on the helpline from time to time, and I wondered if, in the heat of the summer, some of you have been wondering what effect this might have on your arthritis.

My understanding, from the research that I have done on this for helpline callers, is that climate has no effect on the progression of RA. However, this is not the same as saying that it does not affect the day-to-day symptoms, so those of you who have said that their joints feel better in the warmer weather, and felt worse during the heavy snow last winter may well have felt a difference, but there’s no need to leave for sunnier climes just yet! The information from Arthritis Research UK states: 

"The weather does affect the symptoms of some people with rheumatoid arthritis, but it does not affect the progression of the disease. Many people who are affected find warm weather better than cold, although damp heat often makes people uncomfortable. For some people, cold crisp winter days are the best of all. 

If you do think of moving, try the new climate in all seasons before you make your final move. Also weigh up the consequences of leaving your friends and family, as well as the support of your familiar health care system. Above all, remember that a change of climate will not affect the disease itself and will not prevent it progressing."

June has been an important month for the helpline team, as we switched over to our new database on 1st June. Everything seems to be running pretty smoothly so far (fingers crossed) but if we take a little longer to look up your details, please bear with us while we get used to the new systems!

So, whether the summer means gardening, sunbathing (carefully of course), barbeques, World Cup football , walks in the park or just an improvement in RA symptoms to you, I hope you make the most of the good weather, and appreciate the good days as and when we get them. People in the UK often get criticised, particularly in England, for having a lack of national identity, but what could be more quintessentially British than complaining about the weather!

Wishing you a wonderful summertime

Vicky Backhurst
Helpline & Information Coordinator

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