Effects of barometric pressure on humans

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Changes in barometric pressure indicate an impending change in weather. If the barometric pressure drops significantly, it means that strong storms are approaching. The amount of change determines the severity of weather, such as thunderstorms, hurricanes or tornadoes.

Conversely, a rise in the barometric pressure indicates approaching good weather.

In terms of human well-being, weather can be an influential activator of aches and pains. The human body feels the weight of the air and begins to experience problems with mobility. Joints are especially vulnerable to changes in barometric pressure. Fluid surrounding the joints becomes inflamed, causing almost intolerable levels of pain.

Ups and Downs

Medical evidence supports the belief that the human body is one of the best weather barometers. Studies conducted in Germany, Norway and Switzerland over the span of almost 70 years indicated discernible jumps in illness during January, February and March -- the winter months. Data shows that cold air masses moving into the three countries bring along increased cases of influenza.

Will pain or illness go away when barometric pressure reverses itself? Think again. Once you feel the pain of inflammation, it is best to plan for its extended stay. The answer is likely in the"process" of changing weather patterns. Those changes appear to be the root of certain pain or illness.

Pressure Points

Barometric pressure affects more than joints. There have been documented changes in the number of births when barometric pressure changes. Even sperm counts change noticeably -- although individuals experiencing this situation might not realise it.

Weather changes affect some chronic, often debilitating conditions, particularly if the condition involves joints or muscles. A diagnosis of any form of arthritis, low back pain, nerve and muscle conditions, nerve and joint situations, migraine and/or cluster headaches, manic-depressive mood disorders and recently formed scars can trigger a negative response to weather change.

Listen to your body when there is no available barometer, especially if you contract pneumonia, bronchitis or influenza ahead of barometric pressure changes. The heavy low pressure makes it difficult to breathe, and these three lung conditions are signals of an approaching weather episode.

Constant Change

There are changes, both good and bad, in those conditions listed above:

  • An increase in muscle cramps occurs during strenuous activity without warming up first. This is especially noticeable in cold settings.

  • When aggravated, Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (lupus) causes inflammation of internal organs with no credible reason. The smallest hint of sunshine aggravates lupus. Individuals with lupus need to use a generous coating of sunscreen as well as wearing clothing to cover head, arms and legs. They are also encouraged to find and live in warmer climates.

Reynaud's Syndrome

Patients with inflammatory conditions eventually receive a diagnosis of Reynaud's. This condition is seen when fingers or toes appear white, red or discoloured after exposure to heat, cold or stressful situations.

Although weather aggravates Reynaud's, this condition could also occur when removing food from a freezer. Individuals with Reynaud's should also avoid hob cooking, if possible. It is important to note that this condition is different from frostbite.

Pressure Headaches

Weather with low pressure can be a headache generator. A 1981 study of the relationship between sinking barometric pressure and migraine/cluster headaches concluded that sinking pressure and headache are interrelated. The headaches attack just before the storm front and, strangely enough, subside when the barometer rises again.

If migraines are your albatross, you could establish a career as a consultant to the meteorologists! This pain could be turned into profit.