Community Views: How Does the Weather Affect Parkinson’s Disease?
Last updated: December 2021
It is not your imagination. The weather can absolutely have an effect on your Parkinson’s. It is something that is not talked about often, but that does not mean it is not happening.
To hear more about the connection between weather and Parkinson’s, we reached out on the ParkinsonsDisease.net Facebook page, asking: “Do changes in the seasons and weather impact your Parkinson’s symptoms?
We saw responses from over 60 community members. Here is what you had to say.
Heat is a trigger
Heat was far and away the biggest issue for most of you in terms of weather. With extreme heat, your muscles often do not cooperate. You find that your body just does not keep up, and overall, it leaves many of you feeling fatigued.
If you relate to this, know you are not alone and that many with Parkinson’s struggle to get through the dog days of summer. You may consider cold washcloths, extra hydration or simply not pushing yourself physically in the heat.
“My husband cannot tolerate the summer heat. His legs turn to mush and will not work.”
“The summer is miserable... the heat and humidity shut my body down. I live in Chicago.”
“I cannot stand the heat in the summer. It totally drains me.”
“Heat and humidity slow me down. I do much better in cooler weather. I used to love the heat!”
“Yes. Heat and humidity make my nerves really bad.”
Dealing with the cold
About half as many of you who cannot handle heat cannot handle the cold. Some of you find that the cold weather makes your body seize up and become unable to move as you would like.
“Cold weather makes me lethargic.”
“Yes, my symptoms get worse in cold weather.”
Some of you find that extreme temperatures on either end of the spectrum make you uncomfortable, which makes sense.
Hopefully, those of you who feel this way are able to live somewhere accommodating, or stay inside during seasons and spells of difficult weather. This has to be tough to struggle with two extremes, but those of you who do are certainly not alone.
“Yes, I do best when the temperature is above 45 and below 86. My ideal location is on Oahu, but it is too expensive to stay there long term.”
“Anything cooler than 66 and I am shivery and shaky, with muscles seizing. Or, if it is hotter than 82, I get fatigued and sweaty and I am miserable.”
“Yes, extreme heat or extreme cold.”
Humidity and exhaustion
We heard from quite a few of you who find that humidity makes your symptoms worse. The dampness - and for some of you it is the fronts that come in - can lead to bad days.
For some, a dehumidifier in the house can help, or simply avoiding the outdoors on days where the humidity is too high can also bring relief.
“My husband’s Parkinson’s always acted up in damp weather.”
“Humidity exhausts me.”
We want to say thank you to everyone who commented on this Facebook prompt. We appreciate you sharing the details of your life so that others living with Parkinson’s know they are not alone in having the same experiences.
On average, how many times per month do you (or your caregiver) go to the pharmacy?
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