The cold and foggy mornings, droplets of dew resting on leaves and flowers of plants, and sips of hot tea or coffee can explain the winter season in the best possible way. Winter is considered to be the most loved season by most people. While most people eagerly wait for the season to arrive, there are some for whom this weather can be harsh. Yes, we are talking about people who suffer from arthritis. Winter weather can flare up the disease that affects your joints. This may lead to inflammation, swelling, pain, and stiffness of joints. This may restrict your movement and therefore may impact the quality of life of arthritis patients.
What is Arthritis?
Arthritis means swelling or inflammation in one or more joints. Just like any other allergies, the disease can flare-up as cold approaches. This is mainly because of a significant fall in the barometric pressure, which is a common phenomenon during the winter season, can cause joints to expand and become painful.
According to Dr Vishwajeet Chavan, Orthopedic Surgeon, Apollo Spectra Pune, a drop in temperature increases the thickness of the synovial fluid, which acts as a shock absorber for joints, and hence joints become stiffer and more sensitive to pain. So, with the fall in temperature, tissues swell and build tension between joints causing more pain.
“The increase in the number of arthritis patients visiting outpatient department (OPD) with the onset of the winter season is clearly visible. Usually, we see around 70 such patients in OPD, but the number increase to 85 to 90 during winters. Those in the age group of 55 to 80 years are prone to joint pain. Also, women are more prone to arthritis than men,” Dr Chavan said.
Things to do to prevent arthritis pain
According to Dr Chavan, arthritis can be managed by opting for hot water compression that helps in staying warm during the winter season. Also, it is important to keep your knees, hands, legs, and arthritis-prone areas covered by dressing in layers. Stay hydrated as dehydration can make the situation worse.
Opt for some physical activities to strengthen your bones and increase flexibility. Having enough vitamin D is also crucial as deficiency of the vitamin can lead to joint pain. Arthritis patients can consult doctors and add vitamin D supplements. They must add omega-3 fatty acids, avocado, walnuts, fish, and flaxseeds to their diet.