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Author Topic: Does the weather affect your health, and can bad health be forecast?  (Read 13067 times)

paul.fr

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According to a Canadian doctor, it does and it can be...

New weather site predicts migraines, arthritis pains
Updated Tue. Feb. 24 2009 9:12 AM ET

CTV.ca News Staff

If you are one of thousands of Canadians who suffers from migraines, arthritis or other conditions that seem to worsen with weather changes, a new website can help you.

A Toronto doctor has just helped launch MediClim.com, a website where Canadians can sign up to receive emails 24 hours before a change in the weather is expected to exacerbate their symptoms.

Dr. John Bart founded the site with one of his patients, meteorologist Denis Bourque. They decided to launch the site to help those with such conditions to be alerted of weather changes ahead of time. "To be forewarned is to be forearmed," they say.

The pair notes that many conditions are worsened by severe weather. Those who suffer from migraines have found that a sudden change in weather, such as an incoming heat wave of cold snap, can bring on the debilitating headaches.

Many Canadians who suffer from asthma or rheumatic arthritis also tend to find their condition worsens after a cold front has gone by.

The email service can also benefit those with heart conditions or diabetes so that they can be alerted about when extreme heat or cold could put them in danger. By being warned, such patients can then take steps to avoid putting their health at risk, such as ensuring they stay indoors during an extreme heat alert.

The email service does not provide any medical advice. Instead, it recommends that users consult with their health care providers to determine the best course of action to prepare for the weather change.

MediClim is a free service currently available to everyone in Canada, the United States (except Alaska and Hawaii) and the United Kingdom. Bart and Bourque are planning to include more countries in the service, with other European countries likely appearing in 2009.



 

Offline Bored chemist

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There is probably something in that but it still reminds me of a story from long ago.
In the days before ultrasound scans and such it was impossible to tell the sex of a baby before it was born. A doctor with more brains than honesty used to offer pregnant women a test- he would take a urine sample to his "laboratory" and examine it then tell the woman whether the child would be a boy or a girl.
He charged for this service but, each time he got it wrong he would give the woman her money back so that was all right.

Nice scam if you can get away with it.
 

Offline JimBob

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It isn't necessary to have a web site dedicated to warnings, at least for me. I can tell, especially in winter, what is happening with the weather. Having rheumatoid arthritis I can tell by a simple change in my pain level what is headed this way. Much of the time the pain follows barometric pressure but not always.

What puzzles me most is the "pre-event" increase in pain that occurs 12-24 hours BEFORE a large cold front moves through the area. The lower the temperatures after frontal passage, the greater the pain. I do not know the reason but this occurs regularly.
 

Offline Damo the Optics Monkey

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This topic interests me greatly.

I have noticed many times that when there is a change in the weather, my students go a bit more 'hyper' than on any other day.

Generally, the moods of those around the school canbe matched with the weather... examples - sunny = happy; rain = very much down and tired; snow = ZOMG!!11!!LOLLIPOPS!!!-let's-all-run-to-the-windows

As for the pain before a cool change, I read somewhere that this could be due to pressure changes affecting ssnsitive areas (such as joints, old injuries and the inner ears and sinuses).  I get sinus attacks and an old injury to my shoulder inflames before a change.
 

Offline Chemistry4me

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Well it is raining outside and I certainly feel very much down and tired so maybe there is something in that!
 

Offline Damo the Optics Monkey

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I knew I saw an article about ths before.  There has been some considerable study in the link between the weather conditions and moods.

This articl details some of the findings of one such study.

Also, there is a condition known as Seasonal Affective Disorder.
 

Offline Karen W.

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I have the ame changes in pain level in my athric shulder ips and an old ankle foot injury...and my hands....
Also as a preschool teacher The weather was always an influence on th children.. this age group tended towant cuddling and ver clingy in rainy weather.. alao easily pset as well as cagey and antsy.. Wind they really got stirred up and wanted to run race jump ec.. me too! I still do.. rain and wind combind make me want to snuggle in and be snuggled like a child....
I think depression is made wose by constant bad weather and low light low sun conditions as Damo states with seasonal disorder... Humboldt county has a high rate of this as well as depression.... we have very long winters here usually extemey wet foggy dark windy and cool in winter....
 

Offline Damo the Optics Monkey

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it would be interesting to review some correlations between the instances of illnesses and the weather
 

Offline Karen W.

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Yes it would and I believe there have been studies on such things but I would'nt kow where to begin to find the statists... google I suppose!
 

paul.fr

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Warm weather may trigger migraines
Study: Each 9-degree temperature increase hikes headache risk 8 percent

updated 4:35 p.m. ET March 9, 2009

LONDON - Warmer weather and changes in atmospheric pressure may cause headaches and migraines, rather than pollution, researchers said Monday.

A U.S. research team showed that each temperature increase of 5 degrees Celsius about 9 degrees Fahrenheit appeared to increase the risk of severe headaches by nearly 8 percent compared to days when the weather was cooler.

Air temperature, humidity and barometric pressure are often cited as a reason for headaches but until now there has been little concrete evidence to back this, Kenneth Mukamal of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston and colleagues said.

His team studied than 7,000 men and women diagnosed with a headache or migraine at the hospital emergency room between May 2000 and December 2007.

Weather conditions vs. environmental factors
They used meteorological and pollutant monitors to analyze air temperature, barometric pressure, humidity, fine particulate matter, black carbon and sulfur dioxides during the three days prior to the hospital visits and then later on.

"In other words, our study design was able to directly compare weather and air pollution conditions right before an emergency room visit with those same factors measured earlier and later the same month," Mukamal said.

The study found that of all the environmental factors tested, higher air temperature in the 24 hours before a hospital visit was most closely associated with headache symptoms.

Lower barometric pressure also appeared to be a trigger, though the association was not as strong. There was no evidence that air pollutants played a role in sparking headaches, but bigger studies are needed to exclude this as a problem, the researchers added.

The findings published in the journal Neurology suggest the weekly forecast could help people ready their medication to ward off headaches.

"We wanted to find out if we could verify this 'clinical folklore,'" Mukamal said in a statement. "These findings help tell us that the environment around us does affect our health, and in terms of headaches, may be impacting many, many people on a daily basis."

The reason is unclear but researchers know warmer weather leads to lower blood pressure, and there is good evidence migraines are related to changes in blood flow around the brain, Mukamal added in a telephone interview.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/29601879/
 

Offline Karen W.

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This is something I have..That is affected by the cold! I have secondary Raynaud's syndrome

http://my.clevelandclinic.org/heart/disorders/vascular/raynauds.aspx

What causes Raynaud's?

An attack of Raynaud's is usually triggered by exposure to cold or emotional stress.

Under normal circumstances, when a person is exposed to cold, his or her body's response is to slow the loss of heat. The body does this by causing the blood vessels that control blood flow to the skin's surface to move blood from the surface arteries to veins deeper in the body.

For people who have Raynaud's, however, this normal body response is intensified by contractions of the small blood vessels that supply blood to the fingers and toes.

In some cases, this causes the arteries of the fingers and toes to collapse or constrict. The result is a greatly decreased supply of blood to the affected body areas, causing skin discoloration.
 

paul.fr

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ScienceDaily (Mar. 10, 2009) Although large numbers of headache sufferers, particularly individuals who struggle with migraines, attribute their pain to the weather, there has been little scientific evidence to back up their assertions. Now, a study of more than 7,000 patients, led by researchers at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC), provides some of the first large-scale data on how environmental conditions -- weather, as well as air pollution -- influence headache pain.

Reported in the March 10 issue of the journal Neurology, the findings demonstrate that higher temperatures, and to a lesser degree, lower barometric pressure, contribute to severe headaches.

"Migraine headaches affect a large proportion of the population," notes Kenneth Mukamal, MD, MPH, the study's first author and a physician in the Division of General Medicine and Primary Care at BIDMC. "Approximately 18 percent of women and 6 percent of men in the U.S. report having migraine headaches, particularly young and middle-aged adults."

Knowing that migraines can be set off by "triggers," including certain foods, alcohol, stress and hormones, Mukamal and his coauthors decided to study whether environmental factors were also acting as headache triggers.

"Air temperature, humidity and barometric pressure are among the most frequent reasons that people give for their headache pain," explains Mukamal, who is also an Associate Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School. "But none of these reasons have been consistently verified. We wanted to find out if we could verify this 'clinical folklore.' We also wanted to determine whether air pollutants trigger headaches, much as they have been found to trigger strokes."

Mukamal and his coauthors designed a "case crossover" study, which directly compares levels of pollutants and meterological variables at the time of the patient's hospital visit with corresponding levels on preceding days and subsequent weeks. The study looked at 7,054 patients who went to the emergency room of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center between May 2000 and December 2007 and were discharged with a primary diagnosis of headache (2,250 diagnosed with migraine; 4,803 diagnosed with tension or unspecified headache). Using meterological and pollutant monitors, they then compared measurements of a number of environmental factors air temperature, barometric pressure, humidity, fine particulate matter, black carbon, and nitrogen and sulfur dioxides -- during the three days previous to patients' hospital visits and then again at corresponding dates to determine whether these factors trigger severe headaches.

"In other words," says Mukamal, "our study design was able to directly compare weather and air pollution conditions right before an emergency visit with those same factors measured earlier and later the same month."

The findings showed that of all of the environmental factors considered, higher air temperature in the 24 hours prior to the patient's hospital visit was most closely associated with headache symptoms, with a 7.5 percent higher risk of severe headache reported for each temperature increase of 5 degrees Celsius (approximately 9 degrees Fahrenheit). To a lesser degree, lower barometric pressure 48 to 72 hours prior to patients' emergency room visits also appeared to trigger headache. The researchers found no evidence that air pollutants influenced the onset of headache, but could not rule out a smaller effect similar to that previously seen for stroke.

"Certainly our results are consistent with the idea that severe headaches can be triggered by external factors," says Mukamal. "These findings help tell us that the environment around us does affect our health and, in terms of headaches, may be impacting many, many people on a daily basis."

Mukamal recommends that headache patients sit down with their doctors to identify the triggers that lead to their headache symptoms, adding that even though the weather can't be altered, doctors might be able to prescribe medication that can be administered prophylactically to help avert the onset of weather-related headaches.

Furthermore, he adds, "On a population basis, we need to be concerned about incremental temperature rises anyhow, and should advocate for responsible environmental management. The annual cost attributed to migraines is estimated at $17 billion, millions of people are adversely affected and the public health implications may be enormous."

This research was supported by grants from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Study coauthors include BIDMC investigators Gregory A. Wellenius, ScD, and Murray A. Mittleman, MD, DrPH; and Helen H. Suh, ScD, of the Harvard School of Public Health.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/03/090309161951.htm
 

Offline Karen W.

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Very interesting paul... it sound like the weather affects health both hot or cold as well.

Is smog catorgorized as a weather condition??? I would assume it would be worse in foggy conditions wouldn't it?
« Last Edit: 22/03/2009 19:16:27 by Karen W. »
 

paul.fr

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Quote
Is smog catorgorized as a weather condition???

Yes, it is a combination of smoke and fog, as there are warnings issued.

Quote
I would assumeit would be wose in foggy conditions wouldn't it?


See above, and below!

Asthma warning as heat wave brings smog
People are being warned against exercising in the middle of the day and to avoid unnecessary car journeys after the current heat wave prompted the first summer smog alert of the year.

By Nick Allen and Ben Farmer
Last Updated: 12:48AM BST 10 May 2008

Soaring temperatures and still air are predicted to lead to high levels of ozone across England and Wales over the weekend.

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) said yesterday that the build-up could affect some people's breathing.

Those suffering from asthma and other lung diseases could see their symptoms worsen and should be prepared to use their inhalers, said Defra, which issued advice to avoid strenuous, outdoor exercise in the afternoon.

Ozone forms at street level when sunlight interacts with nitrogen dioxide and other pollutants from cars. Motorists were urged to not make the problem worse by taking unnecessary journeys or keeping their cars idling.

Forecasters have predicted that parts of Britain will enjoy temperatures similar to those in the Bahamas this weekend. Today is expected to be the hottest day of the year so far with temperatures in some inland areas touching 82F (28C) more than 50F (10C) higher than average for the time of year.

The majority of Britain is expected to see temperatures in the low 70sF until Wednesday although there will be rain outside London and the South East.

A Met Office spokesman said: "We had snow only four weeks ago but now it's wall-to-wall sunshine."
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/1942638/Asthma-warning-as-heat-wave-brings-smog.html
 

Offline Karen W.

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Thanks paul... thats good information.

My goodness you are having some nice weather all of a sudden....
 

Offline Robert Lee

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There is probably something in that but it still reminds me of a story from long ago.
In the days before ultrasound scans and such it was impossible to tell the sex of a baby before it was born. A doctor with more brains than honesty used to offer pregnant women a test- he would take a urine sample to his "laboratory" and examine it then tell the woman whether the child would be a boy or a girl.
He charged for this service but, each time he got it wrong he would give the woman her money back so that was all right.

Nice scam if you can get away with it.

Didn't he say it was a boy most the time, as well?  Due to the higher male birth rate (+infant mortality, or fatality if you've played too many arcade games) he was thus more likely to be right.
 

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