Fight Against Flares
Posted on February 18, 2019
If you have an autoimmune condition, winter is likely not your favorite season. Not necessarily because you hate cold weather, but more than likely because of how cold weather affects your health. Changes in the climate can negatively affect many people living with autoimmune diseases, but don’t despair as you wait for spring to arrive. Park Avenue Stem Cell has a few suggestions on how to manage immune system reactions when the temperature dips.
What Is an Autoimmune Condition?
Autoimmune conditions develop when the immune system mistakenly attacks healthy cells and tissues. Some common autoimmune conditions include lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, Sjogren’s syndrome and Crohn’s disease.
There are 50 million people in the United States living with one or more autoimmune condition, according to the American Autoimmune Related Disease Association.
Cold Weather Causes Triggers
For some people living with an autoimmune disease, cold temperatures can cause painful flares. But, why? Cold can cause extra stress on the body, which makes the immune system react by increasing its defense of the body. In turn, this means it ups its attack on the healthy cells and tissues already under fire. Cold also causes the blood vessels to spasm, which can be extremely painful. When the temperatures plummet, it can also cause swelling, discoloration of fingers, and numbness in the fingers, toes, ears and nose.
When the weather is cold, we suggest that you:
- Dress warmly and in layers.
- Wear a hat and gloves to keep warm.
- Stay inside as much as you can. If you have to go outside for long periods, take breaks indoors to warm up.
- Work out indoors. If you have to work out outside, warm up as much as possible indoors before heading out in cold temperatures. This helps to not only keep your muscles flexible, but it also helps increase blood flow and reduces inflammation.
What Happens When It Is Warm?
So, while cold weather can bother some individuals living with autoimmune conditions, others experience flares when it is warm out. Some autoimmune conditions cause photosensitivity, which means when the sun is out, they are at risk of flares. That means limiting time in the sun’s rays. Here are some other tips to curb the chance of a flare when it is warm:
- Limit sun exposure.
- Stay inside as much as possible, but if you can’t do that, limit when you’re out to before 10 a.m. and after 4 p.m.
- When you go out, wear sunscreen. Use a broad spectrum and mineral-based product with an SPF of at least 30.
- If you go out, add a coverup such as a hat or a long-sleeved shirt.
Are you living with an autoimmune condition and tired of living in discomfort? Call Park Avenue Stem Cell today at 844-903-7275 for more information or to schedule a consultation.