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Weather conditions can influence rheumatic diseases.

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Scientific Medical Department, Bioibérica Farma, Plaza Francesc Macia 7, 08029 Barcelona, Spain.


In daily clinical practice, many patients attribute joint pain to weather conditions. There is little information published on this subject and most of it is contradictory. The objective of this study was to evaluate the effect of climatic conditions in rheumatic patients. The present work was carried out with patients attending the Instituto Poal de Reumatologia of Barcelona and the data were analyzed by Bioibérica Farma (Spain). It was a prospective, double-blind study including 92 patients with rheumatic disorders (80 with osteoarthritis, 12 with rheumatoid arthritis) compared to a control group of 42 subjects. The evaluation of pain (Huskisson VAS) and functional capacity (Health Assessment Questionnaire, HAQ) were determined daily during one month. The climatic variables studied were temperature, humidity and barometric pressure. The results obtained have been subject to binary regression analysis. Our data demonstrate that osteoarthritic patients experience increased joint pain in response to a decrease in pressure, indicating that low atmospheric pressure conditions exacerbate joint pain in these patients. Our work also suggests that some meteorological variables affect the occurrence of pain in rheumatoid arthritis, since we have found that low temperature increases the risk of joint pain. Therefore, these data suggest that in the future it may be possible to modulate pharmacological and non-pharmacological treatments for some osteoarthritic patients depending on the predictable weather conditions in order to avoid, as much as possible, the disease-associated joint pain and functional incapacity, thus improving patients' quality of life.

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