6 Surprising Ways the Weather Can Predict Your Health

There's more to it than just wearing sunscreen or not. Sometimes normal weather can cause serious health risks.

By Lauren Gelman
Also in Reader's Digest Magazine March 2014
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On cold days, watch for...

Heart attack
One 2012 U.S. study found an 18 percent increase in heart attack deaths in winter and a 10 to 12 percent decrease in summer. Cold weather may constrict blood vessels or lead to more blood clots.

Psoriasis flares
Cold, dry air sucks moisture out of the skin, which makes it more vulnerable to the disease’s trademark red, scaly patches. A good, greasy, penetrating moisturizer can help.

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On rainy days, watch for...

Arthritis
As atmospheric pressure drops, 
tissues near joints expand and put pressure on nerves. (However, some studies that tracked symptoms with weather didn’t find a strong link.)

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When lightning strikes, watch for...

Migraines
A study found that these headaches were 28 percent more likely to occur when lightning struck, perhaps due to electromagnetic changes.

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On hot days, watch for...

Gout
Dehydration from sweltering temps can cause uric acid, a trigger of gout pain, to accumulate.

Multiple sclerosis
Steamy weather and even slight rises in core body temperature—caused by a fever or taking a hot bath—can exacerbate symptoms.

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