Barometric pressure and relative humidity influence perceived osteoarthritis (OA) symptoms. However, the contribution of these variables to the severity of OA symptoms is clinically irrelevant (≤1%).
The goal of this study was to assess whether there is an association between ambient weather conditions and patients' clinical symptoms in patients with hip osteoarthritis (OA). The design was a cohort study with a 2-year follow-up and 3-monthly measurements and prospectively collected data on weather variables. The study population consisted of 222 primary care patients with hip OA. Weather variables included temperature, wind speed, total amount of sun hours, precipitation, barometric pressure, and relative humidity. The primary outcomes were severity of hip pain and hip disability as measured with the Western Ontario and McMasters University Osteoarthritis Index (WOMAC) pain and function subscales. Associations between hip pain and hip disability and the weather variables were assessed using crude and multivariate adjusted linear mixed-model analysis for repeated measurements. On the day of questionnaire completion, mean relative humidity was associated with WOMAC pain (estimate 0.1; 95% confidence interval = 0.0–0.2; P = .02). Relative humidity contributed ≤1% to the explained within-patient variance and between-patient variance of the WOMAC pain score. Mean barometric pressure was associated with WOMAC function (estimate 0.1; 95% confidence interval = 0.0–0.1; P = .02). Barometric pressure contributed ≤1% to the explained within-patient variance and between-patient variance of the WOMAC function score. The other weather variables were not associated with the WOMAC pain or function score. Our results support the general opinion of OA patients that barometric pressure and relative humidity influence perceived OA symptoms. However, the contribution of these weather variables (≤1%) to the severity of OA symptoms is not considered to be clinically relevant.
aDepartment of General Practice, Erasmus MC University Medical Center Rotterdam, Rotterdam, The Netherlands
bDepartment of Public Health, Erasmus MC University Medical Center Rotterdam, Rotterdam, The Netherlands
cDepartment of Orthopaedics, Erasmus MC University Medical Center Rotterdam, Rotterdam, The Netherlands
* Corresponding author. Address: Erasmus MC University Medical Center Rotterdam, Department of General Practice, PO Box 2040, 3000 CA Rotterdam, The Netherlands. Tel.: +31 (0) 10 704 4196.
Received 27 August 2013
Received in revised form 16 January 2014
Accepted 17 January 2014
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