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Joint discomfort/humidity

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  • Joint discomfort/humidity

    I wonder if the splendid people who organise BIOMCH-L will
    censure me for posting this, a little off the beaten track of more usual
    discussions. (I hope not !)

    It is apparent however than many of the subscribers to this list know a
    lot about joints, there are experts on physiotherapy and perhaps also
    rheumatology. This is why I am seeking to use this forum

    In the U.K. it is commonplace for people who suffer from what loosely
    may be called rheumatic conditions to be aware that in wet weather their
    symptoms are worse. This is I think an almost universal observation.

    But what is the cause of this ?

    A medical scientist I greatly respected thought that because of the low
    atmospheric pressure associated with rain that tiny bubbles formed in
    the joint tissues. It was according to him like a minor attack of the
    divers bends (caisson disease). This sounded at first plausible. However
    aircraft cabins are not fully pressurised, and the change after take off
    is more rapid than is usual with fluctuations of the weather. I have not
    heard of people complaining about rheumatic pains on aircraft.

    An alternative position is that with high humidity less water will be
    lost from the lungs, and by insensible perspiration from the skin. There
    will be some decrease in the osmotic pressure of the blood., which may
    perhaps cause cells to swell. However this would surely be quite small.
    I wonder if anyone knows of any data about fluctuations of plasma
    osmotic pressure according to the weather ?

    What else can be the cause ? Any suggestions ?

    There is a literature about air ionisation. What I have found difficult
    to follow and perhaps questionable because there seems to be no very
    satisfactory way of getting measurements. Rain drops will, I suppose,
    often have an electrical charge. So what ?

    People find rainy weather in Northern Europe depressing. I am loathe
    however to consider that the effects is purely psychological.

    If the high humidity somehow is the cause, what happens in subtropical
    and tropical countries in the wet season ? I have never been to Florida
    but imagine that at certain times of the year it is hot and humid. Is
    this bad for people with joint problems ? Or is it only the combination
    of wet and cold which is the trigger in temperate climates.(even though
    most houses now have central heating

    Finally if dampness is the main problem, whatever the mechanism, has
    anyone tried using a dehumidifier in their house ?

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