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Natural Awakenings Metro Phoenix & Northern Arizona

Keep a Weather Eye on Your Personal Barometer: Dr. Sara Penton describes how weather can impact one's health and wellness

Oct 01, 2014 08:16PM ● By By Dr. Sara Penton

Some people claim they can predict oncoming rain storms because they experience joint pain or headaches; this could actually be true, due to a change in barometric pressure. We experience many thunderstorms during our monsoon season, which cause changes in both barometric pressure and humidity. Barometric pressure can be thought of as the weight of the air in the atmosphere. Changes in pressure can be attributed to weather systems moving through an area or a change in altitude. As far as weather is concerned, the easiest way to predict a drastic change in barometric pressure is if severe weather has been forecast; storms indicate that areas of low air pressure will be moving through.

Barometric pressure can impact existing medical conditions in some people, and arthritis, swelling and inflammation of joints can be exacerbated when it drops. Air can also become trapped in sinuses affected by allergic sensitivities. When air pressure drops, the air trapped inside the sinuses can cause even more pain.

Aside from common aches and joint pains caused by low barometric pressure, some people also experience migraine headaches that could be related to the weather. When the air pressure outside the body changes, the blood vessels inside the body tend to react by expanding or contracting, which could possibly cause a headache.

Relative humidity can also cause reactions to the body, especially in those with allergy symptoms. Mold sensitivities are especially exacerbated in humid conditions due to the amount of moisture in the air. With a higher level of humidity, the air is also more capable of suspending greater amounts of foreign substances that can cause reactions to those with allergy sensitivities. Asthma sufferers are especially at risk for adverse reactions in humid climates.

Scientific studies link temperature, humidity and air pressure to arthritis, asthma, migraines and other ailments like fatigue. Researchers have also concluded that high humidity can contribute to flare-ups of osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Although the reasons are not exactly clear, there is no doubt that humid days can induce feelings of sluggishness, lethargy and overall fatigue.

Stay aware of atmospheric changes by checking weather reports for levels of relative humidity and barometric pressure. Weather-related websites also have a wealth of information. Sensitivities from both humidity and barometric pressure can be treated and possibly resolved with access to advanced allergy therapeutics.

Dr. Sara Penton is a chiropractic physician and owner of Absolute Health, a wellness center in Scottsdale. Learn more by phoning 480-991-9945 or visit

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