Friday, 5 October 2012

Vit D

As the winter nights draw ever closer, I got to thinking about my RA flare pattern. I've only had it 3 years so maybe not long enough to draw any real conclusions but it started in December, and every year since then I've felt really good June-Nov and flared post-Christmas only to settle down again in summer. I don't know if this is just clutching at straws, but maybe the lack of sunlight has something to do with it? I don't think it's the cold because when I've travelled temperature changes didn't affect me and to be honest the difference in temperature between the Scottish summer and winter is only about 15 degrees! However, we're pretty far north which means we get super long summer days and super long winter nights!! From the end of Oct when the clocks go back until March I don't see any daylight Monday to Friday as it's dark when I leave for work and dark as I go home. REALLY DEPRESSING!! Even at the weekends it's easy to sleep in until about 11-12 (I like long lies!) and then you only get about 4 hours of daylight before it starts to get dark again. And that's only if the sun can peek out from behind the thick rainclouds!!

I've therefore decided to take some Vitamin D supplements this winter. I'm starting from today and have enough to last me 3 months. I've been 99% symptom free since June so we'll see if this year I can avoid the dreaded 'winter flare'. Probably not, but worth a try (even if it's just to satisfy my curiosity!).


  1. That's a really good idea, Squirrel. Even those of us who live where the sun shines almost year 'round find ourselve deficient in Vit. D. And from everything I've read and have been told by my rheumatologist, a deficiency really can cause joint pain. You might consider taking calcium as well, as the two interact with each other in positive ways. My doc said that people with RA NEED to take calcium, as it helps protect the bones.

    Bravo for making what will be a helpful decision, whether or not it affects your rheuma flares. And by the way--I'm a great fan of the Your Photos feature for Scotland on the BBC website. You live in a gorgeous country, even if it's often gray, rainy and cold. Stunning photographs almost every week taken by just regular folks sending them to the website. I do so want to visit there someday. :o)

  2. Hello,
    I'm Tawfik Sidki from Egypt my wife Majd have the same problem In her fingers of the right hand and she visited a lot
    Of doctors without any improvements till now since 3 years.
    We are very happy for you and we hope you are now 100% back to
    Normal and no more pain.
    While I was searching the web to find a solution for her I found your blog, Please if possible to tell us what is
    The exact name of this disease and what was the treatment and
    The name of the medicine to give this info to my wife Doctor,
    maybe she can be cured and get rid of the pain.

    Best Regards
    Tawfik & Majd.

  3. Hey Squirrel,
    That's a really interesting thought...I wonder could it be the lack of Vitamin D, or the feeling kinda depressed from all the darkness? I live about as far north as you and it can be BRUTAL. You named it, if you work a regular job, 8-4 or 9-5, you will not see the sun until the weekend. Rough. Make up for it in our awesome summer days, though! For a while in June it doesn't get full dark, there is always some light on the horizon :)

    Even if it doesn't help the RA, most folks (especially us northern ones), experience a lack of Vitamin D, so it's good for you anyway :D

    Hope you have a flare-free winter!


  4. Thanks guys!
    Wren, Scotland really is beautiful to visit and if you decide to come over I can recommend lots of places for you to see :)

    Pony, the summer long days are awesome! I think we're about the same, latitude wise? I always say that I'm quite happy with a bit of winter and snow, up until the holidays and then I want to skip straight to April.

    Hi Tawfik, glad you've found my blog. I am not a doctor so I can't say exactly what your wife suffers from but I am sorry to hear about her pain. My condition is called Rheumatoid Arthritis (which is a type of Inflammatory Arthritis - ie, not the usual type of osteoarthritis which tends to affect the elderly). I'm on a medication called hydroxychloroquine, which is actually an anti-malarial drug but has been found to be effective for some people with inflammatory arthritis. It is a fairly mild medication so it might not be enough if your wife has severe pain, but there are many other medications out there for rheumatoid arthritis.
    Unfortunately there is no cure at present for this condition, but lots of research and better drugs than ever before. If your wife does have it, I wish you all the luck and hope she gets fast treatment and pain relief. If you google the condition you'll be able to get much better information than I can provide!

  5. Hi-
    I'm with you - I hate the darkness of winter!
    I was just diagnosed 6 months ago, but when I think back on it, I've flared just after Christmas the past two years. I think it's the sugar consumption. I find that I'm really affected by diet, and sugar is especially bad for me. You might try less of it. I completely avoid it. (hard to do though)
    Hope you avoid the flare!