Advertisement
Advertisement

Everyone knows that when it is cold outside our bodies adjust and we put on additional layers of clothing. Likewise, when it is hot our bodies will sweat in order to provide evaporative cooling and we take off layers. However, the weather affects health in many other ways. People with arthritis, asthma, or those with migraines often find they can predict the weather based on how they are feeling. Both internal and external effects can be attributed to changes in the weather.

Advertisement

Cold Weather and Heart Attacks

When it is cold outside, our heart and lungs work harder. This extra effort can increase the likelihood of heart attack or stroke. It is especially important to be aware of any conditions that may weaken your heart and leave it unable to handle the extra exertion. Not surprisingly, shoveling snow is one of the most common activities leading to heart attacks during the winter.

469249167

Davis Turner / Getty Images

Advertisement

Migraines Increase

Weather is one of the most common triggers for migraines. Some people are affected by too much cold, others by too much heat. For some, the migraines are due to a drop in barometric pressure or thunderstorms. Others are affected by a rise in humidity. Regardless of the exact weather trigger, migraine sufferers can usually tell you when the weather is about to change.

692325568

Vertigo3d / Getty Images

Advertisement

Asthma and Allergy Symptoms

People with asthma are also affected by changes in the weather. High pollen counts can trigger their symptoms. When the flowers and trees begin to bloom, many people with allergies and asthma welcome the spring rains that reduce the pollen floating around in the air. However, thunderstorms are a different story. Many times thunderstorms pick up pollen and increase pollen counts in the air

836720720

Drazen_ / Getty Images

Advertisement

Winter Cold and Flu Season

Winter is known as cold and flu season. You are more likely to get a cold or flu during the winter than in the summer months. One of the reasons is that people tend to stay inside of their buildings and are in close contact with each other. This makes it easier for you to pick up a virus. In addition, our bodies have to work harder to stay warm, but this is a topic of debate because most now spend their days in temperature-controlled office buildings.

854418300

PeopleImages / Getty Images

Winter Blues or SAD

Our bodies need sunlight to survive.Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is depression that is a result of reduced hours of sunlight. Symptoms of this disorder include increased anxiety, irritability, depression, and weight gain. The symptoms vary in severity. People with pre-existing mood disorders are at increased risk for SAD in the winter. The recommended treatment for the condition includes using light bulbs that mimic sunlight.

56651486

Christopher Furlong / Getty Images

Heat Exhaustion and Heatstroke

Heat exhaustion is the first stage of heatstroke. It is caused by a rise in core body temperature in hot conditions and is a result of your body's inability to cope with the temperature increase. The symptoms include nausea, headache, excessive thirst, muscle cramps and aches, weakness, confusion, anxiety, and profuse sweating. Signs of heatstroke include many of the same symptoms, plus dizziness or vertigo, heart arrhythmias, and hot, dry skin. Both are treated by removing the person from the heat and cooling the body. Heat stroke is a medical emergency.

71561786

Tim Boyle / Getty Images

Muscle and Joint Injuries

Muscle and joint injuries tend to increase in the spring and summer because people who have been sitting around indoors for most of the winter decide to go out and resume physical activities without recognizing that they have lost some capability over the winter. The best remedy is to find ways to keep moving all winter long, or at least start slowly when you do begin again.

615456586

Spencer Platt / Getty Images

Blood Pressure

If you have high blood pressure, you may notice the numbers decrease as the weather gets warmer. Likewise, the body naturally increases blood pressure in the winter in an attempt to improve circulation and keep warm. In the winter, the diameter of the blood vessels decreases, causing the heart to work harder to pump blood. At this time of year, it is especially important to eat nutritionally dense foods, keep up with exercise, minimize salt and alcohol intake, and keep an eye on your blood pressure.

57319981

Joe Raedle / Getty Images

Arthritis and Joint Pain

Anyone with arthritis will tell you that joint pain increases in cold weather because the lower temperatures cause the muscles, tendons, and ligaments to stiffen. This places extra pressure on the joints. Cold weather makes our bodies more prone to joint injuries, too.

821012456

seb_ra / Getty Images

Eczema

Eczema tends to worsen in the cold, dry air of winter. However, heat and humidity can also trigger the symptoms. It is important to prevent your body from becoming overheated during the summer and from getting too cold in the winter. Keeping your skin moist will also help avoid outbreaks in either weather extreme.

670825268

Cineberg / Getty Images

Disclaimer

This site offers information designed for educational purposes only. You should not rely on any information on this site as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, treatment, or as a substitute for, professional counseling care, advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you have any concerns or questions about your health, you should always consult with a physician or other healthcare professional.