Winters are rough on Rheumatoid Arthritis: Know how to fight it

21 Jan,22

Winter may bring happiness for many but for people who are suffering from arthritis, the onset of winter means a continuous struggle tackling daily aches and pain. Simple daily tasks like hand washing, knitting, cutting vegetables, combing hair, etc. can appear to be fearful. The discomfort of Rheumatoid Arthritis may confine the patients to bed and makes them dependent on others.

What is Rheumatoid Arthritis?

Rheumatoid Arthritis is a condition in which our immune system starts attacking the lining of the joints leading to pain and inflammation of joints. The specific reason is not known yet however doctors believe that sometimes certain genes may be responsible to initiate the process. However, genes are the real cause behind it but they may get stimulated by environmental factors which could trigger the disease.

People with rheumatoid arthritis experience different symptoms. These symptoms can be specifically be categorized as:

  • In Joints: Pain, swelling, stiffness, weakness, and tenderness.
  • Skin: Lumps or redness might appear on the skin.
  • Hand: Swollen finger or a visible bump.

Other common symptoms are:

  • Flare
  • Dry mouth
  • Deformity
  • A sensation of pinching pins
  • Fatigue
  • Loss of Appetite

Initially, rheumatoid arthritis attacks finger and toe joints because they are small in size as compared to the other joints. Over time symptoms progress to the wrist, elbows, knees, ankles, hips, and shoulders.

Thinking that the impact of Rheumatoid Arthritis is limited to joints would be a mistake. In some cases, the impact has been seen on other parts of the body like skin, eyes, lungs, hearts, kidneys, and even blood vessels.

The Winter Impact on Arthritis Patients

Winters aren't as enjoyable for people with Rheumatoid Arthritis as it is for many. According to research, the pressure in the atmosphere is directly proportional to pain. This is why, during the winter, pain increases, causing swelling, soreness, and stiffness in joints, which increases the pressure on nerves that control pain.

Additional to this, in winters, our bodies seek heat from external sources such as heaters and wood fires. This improves blood flow to the organs. However, after a while, our blood vessels tighten, reducing blood flow and causing discomfort and stiffness.

Preventive Measures

People with arthritis can fight it back by being a little cautious and taking few preventive measures.

1. Exercise

We all are aware of the struggle of coming out of our warm cosy beds in the morning but it's necessary to break the chain of comfort and be physically active.

By being active you will be able to keep your joints moving and maintain a healthy weight because immobility can increase the stress on joints leading to an increase in pain.

2. Hydrate

It's important to stay hydrated during winters. Did you know that dehydration can increase the body’s sensitivity to pain? Drink plenty of water to keep your joints friction-free and yourself safe from dehydration.

3. Vitamin D

Calcium is necessary for bones and joints, but Vitamin D is required to maintain it, which aids in the strengthening of weak bones and joints. Make sure to include foods that will help you meet your Vitamin D requirements.

4. Maintain a Healthy Diet

Maintaining a healthy diet is the best weapon against all diseases. Every nutrient is essential for the body and deficiency of even one could lead to health hazards. So keep all the nutrients filled up in your body.

5. Layer Up

Wear multiple layers to keep yourself warm and in control. Whenever you step outside remember to wear socks, gloves, caps and mufflers so that cold air doesn't impact your health.

Life with Rheumatoid Arthritis is a battle that you have to fight every day. Taking preventive measures and good care of yourself can take you a long way, but in certain cases, these may not be of much help and you might need to seek medical assistance.

Sarvodaya Hospital, Sec 8, Faridabad brings the best of the treatment in Rheumatology with cutting-edge equipment and skilled specialists. Our Centre for Rheumatology specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of Rheumatic disorders such as Osteoarthritis, Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA), Lupus, Spondyloarthropathies, Infectious Arthritis, Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis, and other related diseases. Book an appointment to get timely intervention and treatment for bone and joint ailments.