If you have rheumatoid arthritis, then you may experience some severe symptoms during the summer. While medication can be increased or added to your treatment regimen to help keep symptoms under control, you also should consider the ways you can change your environment to help reduce symptom severity. Believe it or not, one of the best things you can do to manage your rheumatoid arthritis is to add a central air conditioner to your home. To find out how this can help you, keep reading.
Reduced Humidity in the Home
For many people, damp conditions and humid weather are triggers for arthritic flare ups. Humidity causes the air pressure or barometric pressure to drop, since water molecules are lighter than air. While it may seem like a decrease in air pressure would reduce joint stress, the opposite actually occurs. More stress is placed on the body because the reduced pressure allows tissues like the tendons, ligaments, and muscles to expand. The extras stress can cause already inflamed or damaged joints to become more painful. Humid weather can also cause you to sweat. If the air already contains a great deal of water content, then the sweat is not likely to evaporate and cool you down. You may become dehydrated though, and this means that your joints and cartilage will hold less fluid. This can lead to less cushioning across the joints and increased discomfort.
Humidity inside the home increases as humidity rises outside. If you stay indoors for most of the day, then reducing the humidity in your house can greatly reduce joint pain. Air conditioners remove humidity as they cool air. AC systems cool air with the help of a refrigerant or coolant. Warm air is blown across a copper coil in the air conditioner that holds the coolant. As the coolant pulls heat out of the air, it removes moisture as well. This means that cool and dry air is blown into your home.
Your air conditioner will also move the water out of your home so it cannot evaporate into the air once it is pulled out during the cooling process. A drain pan underneath the coil catches the water. It then moves through a drain to exit your home.
Many people who suffer with rheumatoid arthritis experience pain when they are exposed to cold temperatures. However, the warmer weather can cause discomfort as well. Warm air can hold more moisture, and the humidity in your home may be higher than normal due to the heat. This is especially true if you have a wet basement or leaky pipes or if it has recently rained. The moisture can remain in the air in your home and cause you pain. High levels of heat can also cause an increase in ozone. Ozone is a layer of air that you may breathe in, and pollutants in this air can cause pain and discomfort. Pollution can trigger a rheumatoid episode as well.
An air conditioner can cut down on heat by blowing cool air into your home, but you do not want to keep your home too cool, or the cold temperatures may also cause a flare-up. Drastic changes in the temperature can lead to inflammation and pain as well. Try to keep your home thermostat set to a comfortable temperature. Temperatures that are considered the most comfortable depend on the season. For summer, make sure the thermostat is set somewhere between 73 and 78 degrees Fahrenheit.
Air conditioning can help you a great deal if you suffer from rheumatoid arthritis pain. If you do not currently have a central AC system, then speak with a local HVAC professional such as Always Ready Repair about the best unit for your home.