Can Your Body Really Predict the Weather?
Do you feel aches and pains in your joints when the weather changes? Do you have to pee more often on certain days? Can the elements really affect your health? Dr. Oz looks into these burning health questions to help viewers separate myth from fact when it comes to the weather and the effect it has on your body.
“Can the weather really help forecast your health or is this just one of those so many great myths that so many of us believe?” asks Dr. Oz as he introduces his special guest weather expert Al Roker from the Today show.
“Do you think that there is a connection between weather patterns and health?” Dr. Oz asks Mr. Roker.
“There’s some who don’t think so, but I do, I really do believe. There is an area in meteorology called ‘biometeorology’ where people believe that the weather, the external forces of weather, affect you physically and emotionally,” says Mr. Roker.
As it turns out, Dr. Oz tells Mr. Roker that he is correct in his belief that weather and a person’s health are connected.
“I am going to put the issue to rest once and for all, I’m speaking as a doctor―there is a connection between weather and health,” says Dr. Oz who demonstrates with some Bill Nye-esque science experiments which weather conditions cause specific health conditions.
Weather related health fact #1: You are more likely to suffer from joint pain on rainy days
According to Dr. Oz, predicting rain by feeling pain in your joints is not a myth. By placing marshmallows in a vacuum chamber, Dr. Oz demonstrates that when the pressure in the chamber is decreased the marshmallows begin to expand. He explains that the same thing happens when it’s about to rain because rain is precipitated by a barometric pressure drops that can then cause the joints to expand.
“As the joints are expanding you are actually putting tension on areas where there shouldn’t be, and tissues will touch that normally wouldn’t touch and that causes a lot of uncomfortableness―i.e. joint pain,” says Dr. Oz.
Weather related health fact #2: Headaches and migraines can be caused by lightning
Dr. Oz tells viewers that a lightning storm can bring on headaches and migraines in two ways: The first way is that some scientists believe that strong electromagnetic pulses from a lightning bolt can trigger migraine attacks in some overly-sensitive people. The second way is that with lightning you typically have windy conditions that stirs up dust and mold, which then can bring on a headache in people who are very sensitive to increased allergen exposure.
To treat your headache, Dr. Oz recommends taking a supplement called “Feverfew” (tanacetum parthenium)―a natural dietary supplement from the sunflower family with daisy-like flowers often referred to as “Bachelors Buttons.”
Dr. Oz states that Feverfew will decrease headache-causing inflammation related to allergen exposure. However, Feverfew is contraindicated in people with allergies to ragweed, and in women who are pregnant because it may cause the uterus to contract prematurely leading to a premature birth.
Weather related health fact #3: Cold weather causes a runny nose and increased peeing
Dr. Oz tells viewers that when exposed to cold weather, most people experience a runny nose and the urge to urinate more often than normal. According to him, these effects are nothing more than the body responding as it should.
The nose’s job is to warm and humidify air before it goes into the lungs. So, when breathing in cold, dry air, the nose has to work overtime in producing moisture that will warm and humidify the cold air, which thereby results in developing a runny wet nose.
When it comes to increased peeing, Dr. Oz explains that when cold air hits the body that the near-surface blood vessels constrict and shunt more blood to the body’s core to help keep the body temperature up. However, at the same time, the kidneys are sensing an increase in body fluid and react by making more urine and the urge to void the excess fluid.
Weather related health fact #4: It is easier to lose weight when the weather is cold
Colder weather raises your metabolism resulting in more calories burned than does hot weather explains Dr. Oz who tells viewers that for losing weight, living in a cold climate region works best for weight loss.
However, if you live in a warm climate, Dr. Oz says that there are a few things you can do to trick your body into thinking that it is cold. He suggests applying cold packs to the back of the neck and the chest, taking cold showers, and drinking glasses of cold water.
“It’ll force your body to generate heat to rewarm yourself…your body has to work overtime to generate energy to heat your body back up and that burns calories,” says Dr. Oz.
For an additional article on medical myths and facts, click-on the titled link, “Snow Shoveling and Heart Attack―Myth or Fact,” to find out if you run the risk of having a heart attack this winter while shoveling your driveway.
Image Source: Courtesy of PhotoBucket
Reference: The Dr. Oz Show