ZocdocAnswersCan changes in weather cause chest pain?

Question

Can changes in weather cause chest pain?

My mom is in her late 60s, and she always complains when we have stormy weather ? she says it makes her chest ache. I think if she has chest pains, she should see a doctor. Could it just be the weather causing her pain?

Answer

You are right to be concerned, though it is possible that the weather is to blame. Aching or tightness in the chest, especially when severe or recurrent, should prompt a discussion between your mom and her doctor. The potential benefit of catching serious heart disease earlier rather than later cannot be overstated. After a thorough history and physical examination, it is possible that your mom's doctor will want to do more testing to evaluate potential causes of her pain, depending on all of the details of your mom's history. That being said, changes in weather have been observed to cause bones and joints to ache. It is not completely clear whether this is due to changes in humidity, atmospheric pressure, or some other factor, but it has definitely been seen before. It is possible that the ribs, or the joints where the ribs meet the sternum (breastbone) are being affected by changes in the weather. The cartilage in the joints can be susceptible to swelling under the right atmospheric conditions, causing pain. These symptoms tend to occur in people who already have some joint disease, such as osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, or degenerative joint disease. Regardless, your mother should talk with her doctor. A short office visit could lead to necessary testing, helpful reassurance, or both.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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