OBJECTIVE: To explore how reported joint pain in patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) relates to weather and solar variables. METHODS: A prospective cohort study was conducted in Norway on 36 patients with stable RA. Daily reports of pain in the morning on a visual analog scale for 84 consecutive days were correlated (using time-series methodology) with records of atmospheric and solar variables for the same days. RESULTS: Pain was significantly associated with 3 or more external variables in 6 (17%) of the patients, with 1 or 2 external variables in 16 (44%) of the patients, and no associations were observed in 14 (39%) of the patients. The multivariate model explained between 19% and 64% of the variance in pain (R(2)) in the patients with associations to at least 3 weather/solar variables. The patients differed in the variables they responded to and in which direction, except for consistent negative associations between pain and ultraviolet light dose, and between pain and solar radio flux/sunspot count. The associations were mostly with same-day weather, but also lagged up to 3 days. We were not able to fit a statistically significant model at the group level. CONCLUSION: Weather sensitivity seems to be a continuum and a highly individual phenomenon in patients with RA. In the present sample, pain was significantly associated with 3 or more weather variables in 1 out of 6 patients, for whom the magnitude of weather sensitivity might significantly influence pain reporting in clinical care and research.
OBJECTIVE: To investigate the prevalence of osteoarthritis (OA) in knee, hip, and hand in a general population in Norway and the burden of disease in terms of associations between the report of OA and health-related variables. METHODS: In 2004, postal questionnaires were sent to all people in a local community born in 1928-30, 1938-40, 1948-50, 1958-60, 1968-70, and 1978-80. A total of 3266 (56.7%) responded. The prevalence of hip, knee, and/or hand OA was obtained by the item "Have you ever been diagnosed with osteoarthritis in hip/knee/hand by a medical doctor or by x-ray?". RESULTS: The overall prevalence of OA was 12.8% (95% CI 11.7-14.0), being significantly higher among women [14.7% (95% CI 13.1-16.4)] than men [10.5% (95% CI 9.0-12.1)]. The prevalence for hip OA was 5.5% (95% CI 4.7-6.3), knee OA 7.1% (95% CI 6.3-8.0), and for hand OA 4.3% (95% CI 3.6-5.0). OA was significantly (all p 1 year, pain in several body sites, sick leave for more than 8 weeks, emotional distress, poor sleeping quality, fatigue, and with frequent use of healthcare providers in primary health care. A significant (p = 0.001) dose-response relationship between increasing body mass index and OA was found. CONCLUSION: The overall prevalence of OA was 12.8% and higher prevalence was found among women and older people, people with less than 12 years of education, those out of work, and those overweight. OA was associated with pain, disability, and poor health status, and frequent use of healthcare providers.