Weather and gout

Gout and Weather

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%.

Tart Cherry Extract for Gout

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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28 Comments

  • Peter Buckmaster

    Reply Reply July 20, 2017

    Thank you for this. I live in Japan where the summers are extremely humid. This is maybe my fourth bout of gout in a decade, always in summer. The doctors have never said anything about the heat/humidity so I just supposed I was dehydrating and drinking more beer due to hot weather. Reading your article confirms this but also brings up something new for me, mainly the sudden change in weather. In June we have the rainy season and when that finishes the temperature shoots up to mid 30s (centigrade) and the humidity is over 90% most days. Nights can be tricky to judge. Air-con or windows open. So I guess my body reacts badly to the roller-coaster ride in temperature and humidity. Again,thanks for the insight.

  • Dennis

    Reply Reply February 16, 2017

    My wife and I had moved to south Florida and we both were getting Gout attacks for the first time. We finally moved after 3 years because of the heat and humidity and relocated south of Atlanta and have lived here over 2 years and neither of us have had any attacks since.I believe that the weather conditions definitely have a big part in this equation. Thanks for your perspective on this.

  • Susan

    Reply Reply January 15, 2017

    Last year we left Canada after Christmas where it was well below freezing to come to Florida for three months. When we arrived, it was hot and humid. Within 10 days of arriving, my husband developed his first bout of gout. He was treated at a local clinic, after blood work and an x-ray. This year, we left Canada to come to Florida and again, within a week, he has developed the symptoms of gout. Could the temperature/humidity changes be affecting him and, as his body adjusts, should his symptoms disappear? He’s taking black cherry concentrate, Omega 3 and an OTC gout treatment and ibuprofen for pain/inflammation.

    • Spiro Koulouris

      Reply Reply January 18, 2017

      Hi Susan!

      Yes humidity and rapid change of weather can affect the joints as well as gout. Many gout sufferers report this.

  • jim mitchell

    Reply Reply December 20, 2016

    WHEN YOUNG, gout attacks were severe. Lesser so in middle age. Now at 70, severity increasing again. Heat (hot summer temps) especially in August-October seem to trigger gout attacks.

    Always in August when my feet get hot – I get the bad gout attacks. Cold does not bring on gout.

  • Matt Ogiwara

    Reply Reply October 9, 2016

    I recently had an attack just before Hurricain Matthew passed through. After the storm i went to the VA Hospital in Miami where the Physicians assistant said there was a major increase of gout attacks. I think the change in pressure may be partially responsable.

  • Baloydi

    Reply Reply May 17, 2016

    I have high uric acid level since high school, and now I am 24 years old. Old also, have hyperhydriosis (in-born condition). The highest uric acid I had was 13. Currently, I am suffering because my hyperhydriosis sweat has some kind of chemical that would irritate my sinus causing them to sneeze and would eventually lead to fever.

    • Hi Baloydi!

      I never hear of your condition as you explain it. I suffer from hyperhidrosis as well, I am very sensitive to humidity and sweat rather easily, very embarrassing at times.

  • andrew

    Reply Reply April 27, 2016

    i am 42 , have had gout since i am 27. It was a birthday present to me literally , 1st attack on my BDAY. I thought I broke my foot somehow.
    I lived in Fl the whole time and then moved to Boston area in Feb. Since in the cold I yet to go 2 days without an attack somewhere in foot or knee. My uric acid level is 5.35 (tested every month and consistent under 6) I am now suffering 6 days in the knee but not swollen so no fluid to drain really. Can not walk for the 1st 3 days. kept me in bed. In Fl i get about 3 mini attacks a month and 4 major a year max. Here in Boston its all bad and minor but its daily. Should I just move somewhere else? I left Fl to be near family but I can live anywhere as I work from a computer.

    • Spiro Koulouris

      Reply Reply April 27, 2016

      Hi Andrew!

      If you go anywhere, the best weather is dry weather out in Arizona, Nevada, south California, parts of Texas, where there is not much humidity and rain but mostly desert.

  • Ermin

    Reply Reply January 31, 2016

    I have gout attack now it’s almost a month I consult my doctor in the first week of pain and he gave medicine but the season is changing and its getting colder up 0 degrees here in my place and I feel terrible pain in my toe In nigth I can’t sleep of pain. I hope any solution to less the pain.

  • Ronald

    Reply Reply January 25, 2016

    The study seems a little backwards to me because I live in an area that is very hot (up to 105 degrees in summer)and also very cold with no humidity (below 20 degrees winter nights). Summers I have no flare ups, but the cold weather makes my feet cold and pain develops in the feet and ankles like clockwork. There is zero doubt that weather is a contributing factor. I am guessing this is because there is less crystal formation at higher blood temperatures. Anti-inflammatories work well, as does baking soda type products and cherries. Can go from not being able to walk one day to running the next.

    • Tony

      Reply Reply March 7, 2017

      Hey how are you I was reading your comment about the gout. I work in N. Dakota but live in Texas and 3 or 4 days after I get back to work I have a flare and I can’t control it. What do you take for it. I’ve gone to my Physician and got some mess and it works at home but not here. Do you have any advice?

  • Meredith

    Reply Reply January 11, 2016

    Hi, I live in Bogart, right outside of Atlanta.
    I was diagnosed with kidney failure 2 years ago due to high uric acid levels. Mine were as high as 13 until I went vegan this summer.
    I’m down 32 pounds and my uric acid level is down to 7.8
    I’m doing much better, but am currently experiencing a gout attack in my left foot. My only things I can come up with are walking 2-3 miles per day (which is new for me and that it’s cold, about 26-46 degrees this week).
    Any thoughts? Thank you!

    • Spiro Koulouris

      Reply Reply January 11, 2016

      Hi Meredith!

      If it’s cold and you can’t handle it, then do your walking in laps inside the mall or signup at a local gym and walk on a treadmill.But walking really helps gout and keeps you in shape. I’m happy you dropped your uric acid levels, good job!

  • samrid

    Reply Reply December 14, 2015

    I get gout attack cloudy humid weather. Any solution

  • Patrick

    Reply Reply September 30, 2015

    Thanks for your blog I am 33 and have been suffering from gout attacks for about 12 years, I always concentrate so much on my food and diet when i get an attack being told by others ‘what did you eat it must be something you ate’, when my diet didnt really change. Then I started to realise that it would happen at the similar times every year and linked it to the weather myself. I refuse to take any gout medication, rather at the sign of an attack i take voltaren 50mg tablet and drink as much water as possible to flush the system out.

  • Barry

    Reply Reply August 31, 2015

    I can guarantee you seasons play a role. Here I am 49, 6’4″, 225 lbs and can bench press my weight 16 times, run a 10K, and do 25 pullups. I eat a great diet, no processed foods, no sodas, only drink water, and no alcohol. And it is August 31, the nights have turned cooler, and my toe has taken me down yet again, this time in my right foot and I have never had it there. Advil and cherries are my only defense. I grit my teeth and suffer as I pull on my shoe and try to walk normally. This ridiculous little malady won’t win.

  • Gerald Goldberg

    Reply Reply August 13, 2015

    Hi,
    Woke up with gout in my knee and started wondering did I do anything to bring it on. The first thing was, I had some chocolate last night and wondered did that trigger it, but then I came across your blog and you gave me the answer. We have had a bad summer, so when we get a hot day I overdo it and stay out in the sun for hours, as I did yesterday and of course during the night the temperture would have fallen and I only had a sheet covering me – RESULT, that know tingling in my knee that warns me that I have the beginning of a gout attack.

  • Dan Houlihan

    Reply Reply April 16, 2015

    Hi… Im 50 yrs old. Started getting gout attacks about eighteen yrs ago. Finally after suffering with attacks for years finally gave up alcohol…red meat and seafood. Started to exercise more and drink a ton of water daily. For last ten years only a rare gout attack. Last june moved from upstate Ny to Tampa and have had several gout attacks. My new dr an internist considers a food allergy a possibility but i think its humidity. Arrived Tampa last June was find for three or four months. I drink even more water here take colchicine when get an attack and allopurinol daily but nothing has been helping? And again been drinking ton of water. Sorry this is so long.

    • Spiro Koulouris

      Reply Reply April 16, 2015

      Try Arizona, Nevada or South California. The humidity is so low that I who sweat a lot, barely broke a sweat in Vegas when it was high 90s, 100+ F everyday!

  • Stephan

    Reply Reply March 26, 2015

    Took me a few years to figure it out, but everytime I flew to Florida, within 7 days I’d have an attack while there or shorty upon returning to California. The first time I went to Florida I even managed to get a kidney stone. Next time I go I’m going to drink a lot of water and avoid beer which was also a Florida indulgence.

  • mark

    Reply Reply March 2, 2015

    Hi,
    I do get pain in my joints when the weather changes.
    However,the most notable times I get gout attacks are during cloudy days when the pressure is low.
    As soon as it rains, the pain receedes.
    At times, I would start feeling the pain even before the bad weather comes. I would be able to argue with my colleagues that there would be bad weather.They would laugh at me. But my predictions would be correct. They started believing me after that.
    As I write this, there are dark clouds hanging over us and I am in pain…..just wishing for then to burst open and let of the rain.
    BTW, thanks for the wonderful tips.

    • Spiro Koulouris

      Reply Reply March 2, 2015

      Thanks for the comment Mark and yes I’ve spoken to many people who suffer from different types of arthritis and gout who also tell me the same thing, I myself noticed gout attacks when the weather changed rather suddenly, so the weather can affect your gout for sure!

  • Theresa

    Reply Reply July 28, 2014

    Again, great info. I noticed with the temperatures being very hot here in Atlanta, my big toe flared up again last week. It wasn’t as bad as the attack I experienced in April, but it was quite uncomfortable. I had on hand the Ibuprofen and I did drink a lot of water which helped tremendously!

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