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Does rheumatoid arthritis disease activity correlate with weather conditions?

Abstract

To determine whether rheumatoid arthritis disease activity correlates with changing weather conditions. A longitudinal analysis of 133 patients attending the Department of Rheumatology, Musgrave Park Hospital, Belfast was performed. Participants had a diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis and were receiving subcutaneous anti-TNF therapy (Adalimumab or Etanercept) for a period of >6 months. Data were collected at five time points. This included tender joint count, swollen joint count, patient visual analogue score (VAS), erythrocyte sedimentation rate, C-reactive protein, VAS, and DAS-28 (Disease Activity Score). Each weather factor (maximum, minimum temperature, pressure, rainfall, sunshine, humidity, and wind-speed) was analysed against each patients’ DAS-28 score at five time points, using an analysis of covariance. A significant correlation was noted between low DAS-28 and increased hours of sunshine (p < 0.001). Sunny conditions were associated with a DAS-28 reduction of 0.037 (95 % CI −0.059, −0.016) p < 0.001. A significant correlation between humidity and DAS-28 was also noted (p = 0.016). Increased humidity was associated with an increased DAS-28 of 0.007 (95 % CI 0.001, 0.013) p = 0.016. Higher temperatures were associated with a non-significant decrease in DAS-28 (p = 0.16). In this study, rheumatoid arthritis disease activity (as measured by DAS-28) was significantly lower in both more sunny and less humid conditions.

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Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.

Ethical standard

Ethics approval was obtained for this study from the Office for Research Ethics Committees Northern Ireland (ORECNI). REC Reference Number-07/NIR01/119.

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Correspondence to E. M. Savage.

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Savage, E.M., McCormick, D., McDonald, S. et al. Does rheumatoid arthritis disease activity correlate with weather conditions?. Rheumatol Int 35, 887–890 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00296-014-3161-5

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s00296-014-3161-5

Keywords

  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Anti-TNF
  • Disease activity
  • Pain
  • Weather