Do you get a gout flare when the weather changes?
The climate plays a big role for us gout sufferers especially when it’s hot and humid which can lead to dehydration and triggering a gout attack. When your body is depleted of fluids through perspiration, you can suffer recurrent gout attacks so it is imperative that you drink a lot of water when the humidity index is high. There are also many gout sufferers who have reported to me that they get gout attacks in the fall and when seasons change. After an extended period of time where the temperature is stable at a certain range of degrees, our bodies then become accustomed to this consistency. Then if the temperature drops dramatically overnight, bringing about unusually cold mornings as in the fall season, it is very reasonable to believe that your excess uric acid will crystallize in the joints triggering a gout attack.
Remember that gout is a form of arthritis and that people who suffer from arthritis are also sensitive to weather changes. As your body adapts to the new season and new range of temperatures, your uric acid levels also adjust accordingly until the next change in weather or season. To avoid a gout attack it is important to maintain a regular temperature in your body despite the changes of temperature and pressure of the environment.
Tuhina Neogi, MD, PhD, of the Boston University School of Medicine, evaluated the link between weather and the risk of recurrent gout in 619 individuals who already suffered from gout with a median age of 54 but ranged in age from 21 to 88 years old. The study stated that there was a 43% increased risk of developing a gout attack when temperatures of 50̊-59̊ degrees Fahrenheit moved up to 70̊-79̊. When temperatures dropped from 30̊-39̊ degrees Fahrenheit to less than 30̊ degrees; were considered with a decreased risk of developing a gout attack of 25% and 40% respectively. The researchers also noticed a connection between temperature and humidity. They found that there was a two-fold increased risk of a gout attack when the temperature was higher than 70̊ degrees Fahrenheit and the humidity index was below than 60% in comparison to when temperatures were 50̊-69̊ and the humidex was 60%-74%.
So what is a gout sufferer to do?
Maintaining a regular temperature in your body although the weather is changing drastically is the key to avoiding a gout attack. It is important when the weather changes towards heat and humidity to keep hydrated since you lose more water when it’s hot, drink frequently because water will help your body maintain a constant temperature. Try and have air conditioning in your house and car if possible, this will help you a lot.
When the weather changes to cold you definitely need to warm yourself up, if it’s possible for you to move to a warm area in the wintertime, then good for you. If not make sure to bundle up when going out, so wear an extra layer of socks to keep your feet warm and dress in layers. Drinking warm beverages like coffee or your favorite tea will warm up your body and raise your body temperature. Try and keep moving in cold weather, this will produce body heat and since you are more active this will improve your blood circulation. At home make sure to have heating or at least electronic blankets to keep your body warm at night when it’s coldest.
Regardless of hot or cold weather, take the necessary precautions and avoid that painful gout attack. What has been your experience with weather changes over the years? I’d like to hear from you, leave your comments below.
Posted by Spiro Koulouris
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