Dehumidifiers & Arthritis

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Dehumidifiers & Arthritis
Humidity is an issue for arthritis sufferers (foggy farm image by PeteG from Fotolia.com)

There are several types of arthritis: osteoarthritis, rheumatoid, gout, spondylitis, juvenile and more. All are characterised by joint and bone pain, stiffness, achiness, and limited range of movement and activity. Some types, such as rheumatoid, cause swelling and debilitating pain. You have probably heard an arthritis sufferer talk about how the weather affects his joints. According to Arthritis Today when the air is heavier with moisture, joint pain increases. Dehumidifiers can keep the air in the environment at a constant level of humidity which can improve symptoms.

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Symptom Management

According to ArthritisCare.com, having arthritis means some degree of tiredness, pain, discomfort and stiff joints. There is no known cure for arthritis of any kind but there are ways to manage the symptoms. Arthritis symptoms vary on an hourly and daily basis which is incredibly disruptive to those affected. Understanding how humidity affects your symptoms can be key to having a better quality of life. Staying indoors on humid days and using the right kind of dehumidifier are ways to manage fluctuating symptoms.

Humidity

A changing level of humidity is what causes many arthritis sufferers pain. According to Mother Nature.com, the change in humidity before a rainstorm can increase pain even if it is only temporary. For rheumatoid arthritis in particular, high humidity worsens symptoms according to a research study conducted by Weibe R. Patburg et al.

You may not be able to control outside humidity, but Dr. Joseph Hollander, from the University of Pennsylvania Hospital in Philadelphia recommends keeping humidity constant in your living space. The best way to do this is with a whole house or several dehumidifier units.

Dehumidifier Benefits

Dehumidifiers have many benefits. They can keep your house warmer in the winter and decrease heating costs because moist air captures heat but does not make the environment feel warm. Drier air uses the heat more efficiently. For those with arthritis, cold air or feeling chilled is a big trigger for pain and stiffness symptoms. Also, those on arthritis medication (which is an immune system suppressant) are more susceptible to common illnesses. A dehumidifier can keep bacteria and mould from growing in your home. It can also keep allergies under control which can be hard to treat for those with arthritis because they may not be able to take appropriate medications or get allergy shots.

Dehumidifiers

There are different kinds of humidifiers. According to homedoctor.net, there are chemical absorbent models, heat-pump, and ventilators with dehumidifying capabilities. Chemical absorbent ones are suggested for very hot and humid areas because they actually dry the air with a chemical called a desiccant. A heat pump humidifier does not cool the air but keeps it at room temperature. A ventilator uses a sensor to determine what the humidity level is and only comes on when needed. This can save energy but may not be enough for very humid places.

Considerations

Be sure to consider total house square footage before purchasing a whole house dehumidifier. Measure the room in which you plan to put an individual dehumidifier to be sure it has the capacity for it. There are dehumidifier types that are self-emptying which are ideal for basements or if you have many stairs to climb (if you had to empty the unit frequently, stairs might add to arthritis pain). You will benefit from shopping around for a dehumidifier that has the features you want at the right price.

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