TODAY   |  March 12, 2014

Ways the weather can affect your health

Is it true that some people can feel the onset of rain in their joints? Courtenay Smith of Reader’s Digest and Dr. Steven Lamm join TODAY to talk about how our bodies are affected by the weather.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> here is something to think about? do you think your bod body is affected by the weather? some think their joints creek when it is going to rain. is it true or all in our snaenchsd the answers with courtney smith , the executive director of readers a digest and dr. steven lamb, director of men's health center at nyu, lang gone medical center . good to see both of you.

>> thanks for having us.

>> we have all had friends or family members who have complained about joint pain , studies that show people can be weather sensitive. but as far as the weather forecast is concerned, those predictions actually -- can they actually affect your health?

>> they can because reader's digest found that for each condition we are going to discuss today, there's a biological mechanism going on thatable is affected by the immediate weather.

>> doctor, your vole to set it straight with science, if there is a correlation?

>> a new area of the human biometeorology.

>> that's right. we actually reported noon about starting 20 years ago work he talked about joint pain and things like that so it really is there. but as far as different flareups, cold weather , heart conditions and psoriasis, what have you found?

>> so for heart attacks , the rate of heart attack death increases 18% in the winter months, but it decreases about 12% in the summer months. and that's in the united states . a swiss study also found that our heart disease risk factors like cholesterol, blood pressure , waist circumference are higher in the winter months, cold seems to be a factor.

>> dr. lam, you see those are the snubs

>> no question cold can affect parent with us heart disease , but what's maybe -- it may be more than just the cold. it may actually be the difference between the amount of day and night , because in the northeast and the southwest, even in the winter, there's a higher incidence of heart disease . may just be cold.

>> so, psoriasis, the dry weather can increase flareups, those red, scaly patches and also lack of exposure to sunlight because the uv rays slow down skin cell turnover, the fact we will be getting out into the sun more will help flareouts -- flareups in the warm weather. no question the skin, eczema, psoriasis, may be affected by humidity, dryness, wind, vitamin d levels drop in the winter, that may have an important impact on skin issues as well as heart issues.

>> courtney, what about rainy weather and arthritis?

>> so joint pain -- -er 60% of arthritis patients say they can tell when a rain storm is coming. i will say this was the most controversial because studies have not shown a strong link but the anecdotal evidence is so strong and the bayology is as the cat moss feerick pressure drops, tissues around the joints can expand and press on nerves. you should talk to your doctor if you're in more pain when the rain is happening.

>> what about the actual physical pain , doctor?

>> well, you know, the nerves may be very sensitive to the slight changes in barrow metric pressure but, i mean, it's the same change occurring in an elevator, went from the ground to the top level. patients will say to you, it hurts morgue, you have to listen to them.

>> lightning strikes and my zblafrnlts migraines 20% more likely to occur when lightning is happening, may be electromagnetic changes but they are linked also to bright sunshine and changes in temperature. so, keep a diary, see if lightning and these other weather changes affect you.

>> this was the first report out of cincinnati if you live within 25 miles of a lightning strike, you had an increase incidence of migraine, about 25%. so many things that trigger migraines, this maybe very interesting, hasn't been confirmed, but certainly very interesting.

>> and spring pollen as well, so watch out the coming months.

>> we will take that on for another day. courtney smith ,