You may not realize it, but the climate you’re currently living in could be seriously affecting, or even increasing, your painful arthritis symptoms. Moving to a milder climate could actually help ease your arthritis symptoms, along with medical treatment, of course. There are many benefits to consider for seniors moving to milder climates, like easier lawn and house care, elevated mood, and generally more recreational activities. But many people overlook the fact that it can actually improve your health, and especially your arthritis, as well. It’s important to note that changing climates will, in no way, reverse your arthritis or cure it, but it can help alleviate some of the symptoms.
How Does Climate Affect Arthritis Symptoms?
High humidity climates create a lot of fatigue in arthritis sufferers. With the thick, heavy, wet air, it can be difficult to move around. Some studies have shown that those with rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis are especially affected by high humidity, reporting more pain and flare ups in this environment than any other.
Low Barometric Pressure
The barometric pressure of any given climate can affect our bodies in all kinds of ways, and can accentuate arthritis symptoms like pain and fatigue. When the barometric pressure of our climate drops, it creates all sorts of tension between the pressure of the air and the pressures that move air and blood through our bodies.
Low barometric pressure conflicts with our blood pressure, creating fatigue and drowsiness. It can also create headaches for many people, and accentuate joint pain. The connection between barometric pressure and joint pain is not entirely clear, but it’s a phenomenon that happens all over the world. It could have to do with the barometric pressure affecting the viscosity of the joint fluid.
Places with cold climates can make your muscles and joints feel stiff, even if you don’t have arthritis. For arthritis sufferers, cold weather can be entirely unbearable. It can confuse them into thinking their symptoms are getting worse, when it’s actually just the weather conditions affecting the stiffness of their joints. Our muscles and joints tend to stiffen when exposed to the cold in order to retain as much body heat as possible.
The Ideal – Warm, Dry Climates
Considering all of that information, it’s obvious that warm, dry climates are the best for people with arthritis. People in these climates report fewer flare-ups and reduced pain, although it doesn’t cure or reverse the disease altogether. This could be because warm, dry climates don’t have the humidity, barometric pressure, or cold conditions you need to look out for, and also because it’s much easier to stay active and maintain proper health in these better-suited climates. It could also be the extra vitamin D you get in sunny climates, which helps improve bone health and longevity.
What Are the Best Climates for Arthritis?
So, where in the world should you go? Usually, places closer to the equator will be warmer, but not necessarily dryer. Look through the list below to see what would be beneficial to your unique lifestyle, and read on for some considerations to make before making that big move.
Arizona is a perfect place for seniors, especially those with arthritis. There are plenty of senior communities with ample activities, groups, and fun things to do. But even better, Arizona has a warm climate all year round and humidity is generally low. There’s also very little barometric pressure fluctuation, although there is a short rain season in July where this may change a bit. Still – it’s a huge step up from a cold, rainy, snowy climate.
San Diego, California
California is also a great location because you get to live near the beach and ocean, if that’s something important to you. Other than that, it’s also a location that’s generally warm all year round with steady barometric pressure and little to no humidity, despite its proximity to the ocean. Enjoy the seas and sand, and de-stress in San Diego.
Another nice and warm location, a little farther from home, is Sydney, Australia. It’s warm and dry on the whole continent most of the year, but Sydney, in particular, is great for people with arthritis because it’s a big walking city. Everything you could need is within walking distance, so you’ll get a healthy amount of exercise each day, which can help alleviate your symptoms and keep your joints strong. There are also plenty of entertainment options there (Sydney Opera House, anyone?).
Paris is another perfect city for arthritis sufferers. Although it’s a bit colder than our other choices, it doesn’t get nearly as cold as other parts of the world and the temperature fluctuation shouldn’t be enough to affect your joints. They also have food there that are rich in vitamin K, which helps alleviate inflammation in the body and strengthen your bones at the same time, so it’ll be easy to maintain a diet here that will help with your arthritis symptoms.
A Mediterranean diet is also very anti-inflammatory, and great for alleviating arthritis pain. Greek diets consist of a lot of whole grains, fish, olive oil, and fresh fruit and vegetables, giving you the maximum amount of omega-3 fatty acids and vitamins you’ll naturally need if you suffer from arthritis. Athens is also a beautiful spot rich in history with plenty to explore, and just a short ride to the beaches of the mediterranean sea, for the most relaxation and luxury you could want.
While all of these climates sound wonderful on their face, some may not be for you. Maybe you don’t want to be part of a 55+ community, or maybe just the opposite. Wherever you’re thinking of going, take a long, but temporary, vacation there first to make sure you can really see yourself living, fitting in, and thriving there.
Also, maybe you want to be closer to loved ones. This is one of the most important considerations, because even the Arthritis Foundation states that moving away from loved ones at an elderly age may cause enough stress to offset the benefits of the warmer climate for arthritis sufferers.
Summary and Resources
There are many treatments out there for arthritis pain and discomfort, but changing your environment can be one of the most beneficial shifts you can make as someone who suffers from arthritis.
What else do you do to alleviate your symptoms? Have you moved and found somewhere great that’s not listed above? Share below!