Does rheumatoid arthritis disease activity correlate with weather conditions?

Rheumatol Int. 2015 May;35(5):887-90. doi: 10.1007/s00296-014-3161-5. Epub 2014 Oct 24.


To determine whether rheumatoid arthritis disease activity correlates with changing weather conditions. A longitudinal analysis of 133 patients attending the Department of Rheumatology, Musgrave Park Hospital, Belfast was performed. Participants had a diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis and were receiving subcutaneous anti-TNF therapy (Adalimumab or Etanercept) for a period of >6 months. Data were collected at five time points. This included tender joint count, swollen joint count, patient visual analogue score (VAS), erythrocyte sedimentation rate, C-reactive protein, VAS, and DAS-28 (Disease Activity Score). Each weather factor (maximum, minimum temperature, pressure, rainfall, sunshine, humidity, and wind-speed) was analysed against each patients' DAS-28 score at five time points, using an analysis of covariance. A significant correlation was noted between low DAS-28 and increased hours of sunshine (p < 0.001). Sunny conditions were associated with a DAS-28 reduction of 0.037 (95 % CI -0.059, -0.016) p < 0.001. A significant correlation between humidity and DAS-28 was also noted (p = 0.016). Increased humidity was associated with an increased DAS-28 of 0.007 (95 % CI 0.001, 0.013) p = 0.016. Higher temperatures were associated with a non-significant decrease in DAS-28 (p = 0.16). In this study, rheumatoid arthritis disease activity (as measured by DAS-28) was significantly lower in both more sunny and less humid conditions.

MeSH terms

  • Adalimumab / therapeutic use
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Antirheumatic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / drug therapy
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / physiopathology*
  • Atmospheric Pressure
  • Etanercept / therapeutic use
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Humidity
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pain / physiopathology*
  • Rain
  • Risk Factors
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Sunlight
  • Temperature
  • Weather*
  • Wind


  • Antirheumatic Agents
  • Adalimumab
  • Etanercept