Sunlight exposure reduces rheumatoid arthritis risk in women

The BBC reported on a study from Harvard Medical School and published in the Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases that studied two groups of more than 100,000 women. The first were monitored from 1976 onwards, the second from 1989.

Their health was then compared with estimates of the levels of UV-B radiation they were exposed to, based on where they lived.

sunny-beachIn the 1976 group, those in the sunniest parts of the US getting the highest levels of sunshine were 21% less likely to develop rheumatoid arthritis than those getting the least UV radiation.

However, UV levels had no affect upon the risk of rheumatoid arthritis is the 1989 group.

The report’s authors said: “Our study adds to the growing evidence that exposure to UV-B light is associated with decreased risk of rheumatoid arthritis.”

“Experts warned that people should not spend all day in the sun.” Dr. Chris Deighton, of the British Society for Rheumatology, said, “We cannot advocate everybody sitting in the sunshine all day to protect from rheumatoid arthritis, because UV-B burns people and increases the risk of skin cancer.

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