The barometric pressure, or the air pressure as it is most commonly known as, is the weight of the atmosphere on a particular surface. The air pressure is closely related to the weather, and it can be used to predict the forecast. It is not just the weather that can be affected by the barometric pressure, but also your body.
While researchers are still trying their best to find concrete evidence that pressure changes affect a particular health condition, there are still numerous studies that show a link between pressure changes and pain. Among these, the most common types of pain associated with pressure changes are arthritic pain and migraines.
A study by John Hopkins Health Alerts has examined the link between weather and joint pain. This particular study looked for a relationship between weather and joint pain in 151 people who had rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, or fibromyalgia and who lived in the warm climate of Cordoba City, Argentina.
According to the journals that the participants kept, people with arthritic conditions experienced mild pain on the days when temperatures were cooler. The study participants with rheumatic arthritis were most affected by high humidity and air pressure. People living with fibromyalgia were most affected by high pressure.
To add to that, researchers in the Tufts-New England Medical Center in Boston surveyed around 20 patients with knee osteoarthritis and found a clear link between changes in barometric pressure and ambient temperature and the increase of the pain severity. It is not yet clear why a falling barometer would make joint and knee pain more severe, but it is clear that a connection exists.
Indeed, you don’t need to have a top of the line barometer near you to notice that weather can affect people. You’ve probably already experienced that firsthand. You certainly remember when your grandma used to say that a storm was brewing and that she felt it in her bones. These recent studies may show that she wasn’t as crazy as you thought.
The only problem is that it is difficult for scientists to gauge these issues since there are so many atmospheric changes to consider. There is much data to give thought to such as the temperature, the wind speed, as well as its direction, and so much more.
Testing and accounting for all these shifts is hard. Especially as the data you get from a state of the art anemometer in a controlled environment could be completely different from what you would get in the real world.
Still, the fact that so many people experience symptoms when the barometric pressure changes, makes it worth noting. What’s more, there are more ways in which a change in atmospheric pressure can affect your body. It can also cause headaches, affect your blood pressure, and even make it more difficult to keep blood sugar at a stable level.
Low barometric pressure can cause migraines or headaches by creating a pressure difference between the atmosphere around you and the air-filled sinuses. If your sinuses are already congested or blocked, this problem can be exacerbated, which can lead to migraines that hurt a lot.
The connection between barometric pressure variations and headaches was made even more evident after a study that was published in the journal Internal Medicine. Researchers asked migraine patients to keep a headache diary for an entire year.
At the end of the year, they found a direct correlation between lower atmospheric pressure and the onset and duration of a migraine. This means that barometric pressure change is one of the exacerbating factors of migraine headaches.
Changes in atmospheric pressure can also exacerbate vascular problems. When the bodily tissues expand due to low barometric pressure, the pressure on the vascular system within the body may increase.
In 1997, the British Journal of Neurosurgery found that during changes in barometric pressure, individuals that suffer from cerebrovascular diseases, are more likely to sustain a brain hemorrhage.
What’s more, barometric pressure variations can also aggravate weak tissue such as surgical scars. Cold fronts that can accompany a low pressure can also increase blood viscosity or thickness which will make it difficult to keep blood sugar at a stable level.