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Unread 08-08-2010, 08:01 AM
 
3,887 posts, read 5,786,690 times
Reputation: 1404
Well, if this theory proved correct (and it is not universally accepted), should a person with arthritis move to a region with a dry climate?

The answer is no. Relocating to a different climatic environment does not seem to make a difference in the long run. Scientific studies have shown that no matter where people live their bodies seem to establish a new equilibrium to the local climate. As a result, changes in the weather affect the arthritis symptoms in the same manner regardless of the actual overall average weather. Moving is not likely to be beneficial long term. (To emphasize a point, I can tell you that there are plenty of busy rheumatologists in Arizona!)

This is from the study they did on RA and climate. I've experienced relief in moving short lived as well. What has help my mom and I most has been light daily exercise and staying positive. Maybe that's why moving helps at first, you're happy and active and out of your regular routine. So where ever you move, change your lifestyle and try and stay free from depression, stress, and get some light daily exercise. Sometimes moving really improves your mood and outlook which will really be a big help dealing with RA. It will keep you in remission a lot longer with less flare ups.

 
Unread 08-08-2010, 10:30 AM
 
13 posts, read 19,861 times
Reputation: 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by twiggy View Post
Well, if this theory proved correct (and it is not universally accepted), should a person with arthritis move to a region with a dry climate?

The answer is no. Relocating to a different climatic environment does not seem to make a difference in the long run. Scientific studies have shown that no matter where people live their bodies seem to establish a new equilibrium to the local climate. As a result, changes in the weather affect the arthritis symptoms in the same manner regardless of the actual overall average weather. Moving is not likely to be beneficial long term. (To emphasize a point, I can tell you that there are plenty of busy rheumatologists in Arizona!)

This is from the study they did on RA and climate. I've experienced relief in moving short lived as well. What has help my mom and I most has been light daily exercise and staying positive. Maybe that's why moving helps at first, you're happy and active and out of your regular routine. So where ever you move, change your lifestyle and try and stay free from depression, stress, and get some light daily exercise. Sometimes moving really improves your mood and outlook which will really be a big help dealing with RA. It will keep you in remission a lot longer with less flare ups.
Do you have RA?
 
Unread 08-08-2010, 12:14 PM
 
Location: Redondo Beach, CA (near LA)
47 posts, read 53,849 times
Reputation: 34
Lucygirl -- How long have you had RA? Are you on any medications? Do you do any range-of-motion exercise? I found Pilates helps me so much that I became a certified Pilates instructor.

SisterLMW -- Thank you for your input, that's the kind of thing I was looking for. Where exactly did you move to?

Twiggy -- Thanks for quoting the scientific evidence, but I personally don't put too much importance on that for one main reason: Those studies are not conducted by actually taking people from one climate and putting them in another, they're done in "climate-controlled" chambers where the scientists adjust only a few factors, like temperature, humidity and air pressure. The people are only in the chamber for a very short time -- less than a day. I really do think that there are more than those few factors involved when someone gets relief from moving to a warmer, drier climate -- something that science hasn't yet identified or found a way to measure.

And I'm sure that rheumatologists are still busy in the desert. I don't expect my disease to go away, but even a little improvement in how I feel on a day-to-day basis would be fantastic! I already have a positive attitude, eat right and exercise which have helped immensely in my pain level, (although they have not slowed the progression of the disease) so now I'm experimenting with climate to see what kind of improvement -- in how I feel -- it can make. I know I can hardly get out of bed on cold, damp days, but I practically spring out of bed on warm, sunny mornings, so there has to be something to it.

Even after I move to Phoenix, I'm not really expecting a huge change for at least a month. Of course, if it happens sooner -- I'll be ecstatic! And if it doesn't happen at all after a year, I'll move back to the California beaches and enjoy the cooler temperatures.

And just a little more about me to give you a background: I've had RA for 18 years now, and I'm not even 50 years old yet! I've tried almost every drug under the sun, have had multiple side-effects from some of them and others have not worked at all. Right now I'm on a super strong chemotherapy drug to give me relief. I've had a joint replacement in one shoulder and a metal plate in one wrist. I'd like to get off all this toxic medicine if I could, but I honestly think I would end up in a wheelchair. This is why I want to do as much as I can to improve my situation -- apart from toxic medications.

Be well everyone! Keep your comments coming!
 
Unread 08-08-2010, 09:39 PM
 
40 posts, read 120,811 times
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[quote=Pirate0202;15385777]Lucygirl -- How long have you had RA? Are you on any medications? Do you do any range-of-motion exercise? I found Pilates helps me so much that I became a certified Pilates instructor.

Pirate0202 - Yes, I have Rheumatoid Arthritis. I have had it for seven years. It all started when I was only 26 years old. Since then I have tried various steroids but they really don't do much for me. My rheumatologist wants me to go on enbrel or something similar to that but I have refused due to the serious side effects - heart failure or sudden death! I am totally freaked out by these types of meds. My hands and fingers are swollen pretty much all the time.. I know that's no good. The interesting thing about my situation is that it all started when I moved from a dry climate to a more wet and humid climate. The other interesting thing is that RA doesn't show up in blood work, so my Rheumatologist says that I am a person with a "cero-negative" case of RA. Supposedly that is supposed to be a better form of it?

Twiggy -- Thanks for quoting the scientific evidence, but I personally don't put too much importance on that for one main reason: Those studies are not conducted by actually taking people from one climate and putting them in another, they're done in "climate-controlled" chambers where the scientists adjust only a few factors, like temperature, humidity and air pressure. The people are only in the chamber for a very short time -- less than a day. I really do think that there are more than those few factors involved when someone gets relief from moving to a warmer, drier climate -- something that science hasn't yet identified or found a way to measure.

Thank you Pirate 2020 for your response to Twiggy. What a downer when I read that post. I was seriously discouraged... Sorry, Twiggy, I don't mean to put you down but I totally agree with Pirate on this. Those studies don't mean anything. My rheumatologist tells me not to move to AZ because it won't help, but how can that be? When the area I live in has it's dry times, my inflammation goes down and I can move almost like I could before I developed this problem. I totally think, and am going to continue to believe, that when I move to AZ my symptoms are going to go away, or pretty much at least. A positive attitude is important, as you had pointed out, and I think that's what is going to help me, too.
 
Unread 08-08-2010, 09:42 PM
 
40 posts, read 120,811 times
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Pirate - Forgot to respond to your question about pilates. I haven't been so good about excercise because it usually makes my joints more sore. I will consider trying pilates. I do have the dvd's.
 
Unread 08-09-2010, 02:37 AM
 
8,650 posts, read 8,363,540 times
Reputation: 5533
Quote:
Originally Posted by twiggy View Post
Well, if this theory proved correct (and it is not universally accepted), should a person with arthritis move to a region with a dry climate?

The answer is no. Relocating to a different climatic environment does not seem to make a difference in the long run. Scientific studies have shown that no matter where people live their bodies seem to establish a new equilibrium to the local climate. As a result, changes in the weather affect the arthritis symptoms in the same manner regardless of the actual overall average weather. Moving is not likely to be beneficial long term. (To emphasize a point, I can tell you that there are plenty of busy rheumatologists in Arizona!)

This is from the study they did on RA and climate. I've experienced relief in moving short lived as well. What has help my mom and I most has been light daily exercise and staying positive. Maybe that's why moving helps at first, you're happy and active and out of your regular routine. So where ever you move, change your lifestyle and try and stay free from depression, stress, and get some light daily exercise. Sometimes moving really improves your mood and outlook which will really be a big help dealing with RA. It will keep you in remission a lot longer with less flare ups.
Warm weather does not make arthritis disappear. It just improves its symptoms. A person with RA is not going to stop seeing a rheumatologist just because he or she moved here. Rheumatologists in Arizona are always going to be busy because Arizona has a significant elderly population and a population of RA sufferers who move here from other states. However, people who suffer from rheumatoid arthritis do suffer a lot less than areas with colder temperatures. Again, this is well documented in peer reviewed medical journals and tested on board exams. People who suffer RA still need to see their rheumatologist for annual follow-up visits regardless of how they are doing.. Furthermore, rheumatologists see much more than just RA patients. There are a lot of people who suffer from chronic pain either due to trauma (car accident) or degenerative disk disease among other conditions. A rheumatologist being busy in Arizona has absolutely nothing to do with this argument.

Furthermore, you have not moved out of Arizona so your analysis above is based on conjecture. Why don't you move to a cold climate first and then tell us your RA remains unchanged. I actually see patients who move from the upper midwest who greatly experience improved symptoms and it isn't because they suddenly got happy and decided to exercise and improve their diet.

Last edited by azriverfan.; 08-09-2010 at 02:52 AM..
 
Unread 08-09-2010, 09:23 AM
 
40 posts, read 120,811 times
Reputation: 29
azriverfan -

Quote:
Originally Posted by azriverfan. View Post
Warm weather does not make arthritis disappear. It just improves its symptoms. A person with RA is not going to stop seeing a rheumatologist just because he or she moved here.

true! The improvement is what makes the move worth it.

Furthermore, you have not moved out of Arizona so your analysis above is based on conjecture. Why don't you move to a cold climate first and then tell us your RA remains unchanged. I actually see patients who move from the upper midwest who greatly experience improved symptoms and it isn't because they suddenly got happy and decided to exercise and improve their diet.
Thanks AZ for your response. It makes me feel a lot better again.
 
Unread 08-09-2010, 12:49 PM
 
Location: Simi Valley
2,620 posts, read 2,951,681 times
Reputation: 1013
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pirate0202 View Post
I live currently live a block and a half from the beach in Southern California. Every year the June Gloom gets worse -- this year we've only had about 3 and a half days of true summer, and it's July 24th!!! It's cool, (60's) which is nice, but the dampness really plays havoc with my joints. Does anyone know someone in either Phoenix or Tucson who relocated there due to problems with Rheumatoid Arthritis? Did it help? I've heard and read that a desert climate is good for it, but I'd like to hear real stories from real people. I'm seriously considering the move in the very near future.
Well, my husband, a Brit, had severe RA when he moved from England to Arizona back in 2000. Within weeks he was feeling much better, and after two months was only using pain killers sporadically. Once we left AZ and moved to England not only did his RA come back with a vengeance, but I also ended up suffering from arthritis. We are now back in the States (SoCalif) and neither of us has any bother with arthritis, except mild touches of it when it gets damp or chilly.
 
Unread 08-09-2010, 12:56 PM
 
Location: Redondo Beach, CA (near LA)
47 posts, read 53,849 times
Reputation: 34
azriverfan -- great post! I agree 100%. Even if there weren't scientific studies, there is so much anecdotal evidence to support it that it really doesn't need to be proven if it helps, or how it helps.

lucygirl -- PLEASE start some type of exercise no matter where you live!!! I can't state that strongly enough. It's extra critical if you're not taking any medications for RA. Sometimes it will take about 2 weeks of some gentle daily exercise, like Pilates or swimming in warm water, to "get over the hump" of it hurting your joints. Once you do, tho, it will be like a miracle! Regular exercise makes me feel about 40% better -- that's huge!
Also, a note about the meds -- steroids are one of the worst meds as far as side effects. I got great results from Methotrexate for about 7 years -- no major side effects and it felt for the most part like I didn't have RA. I would suggest that to start. Please realize that the destruction that is happening to your joints when they are swollen is *irreversible.*
When are you thinking of moving to AZ?

Part of my plan to move to Phoenix is to live somewhere with a warm water pool so I can do more range-of-motion exercise to augment Pilates. The Pacific ocean water here is *much* too cold for that, altho I have gotten really good results from swimming in warm salt water in the Caribbean and Hawaii. I think a heated salt water pool in a dry climate might be just the ticket!
 
Unread 08-09-2010, 01:18 PM
 
Location: Redondo Beach, CA (near LA)
47 posts, read 53,849 times
Reputation: 34
Cyanna -- thank you for your post! Where are you living now in SoCal?

I think that anywhere that's too close to the coast is not good for arthritis. Even the valley areas near LA still get a lot of moisture from the proximity of the ocean. The humidity level changes mile by mile - even block by block close to the beach (!) - in the LA metropolitan area, but I think you have to go as far out as Palm Springs/Palm Desert to really get a consistently dry climate.

I actually tried living in Thousand Oaks, CA for 6 months to see if the dryer climate there would help my RA. But I never came to a conclusion because I have so many friends here at the beach that I just ended up driving back for events like birthdays, festivals, concerts, etc. :-/ It was more of an irritation to have to drive an hour, sleep on a friend's couch overnight and then drive an hour back to the valley! :-( That's why I think Phoenix is my best bet -- I'll be in the consistently dry climate, a big city that offers a lot of activities - but not nearly as big as sprawling LA, and it's close enough to LA to visit from time to time, but far enough so I'll be forced to build a new life out there. All great things! :-)
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