freephone 0800 862 0373
Sign in to view your quotes
Email address:
Password or PIN:

Forgotten your password? Reset it here.

Living in the sunshine reduces your risk of rheumatoid arthritis

Published on 05/02/2013

Living in sunnier parts of the world may reduce your risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis, according to a US study.


Vitamin D has been dubbed the "sunshine vitamin"

Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease, caused by the body’s own immune system attacking the joints. This causes pain and swelling, most commonly in the hands, feet and wrists.

The condition occurs more frequently in women than men, and is thought to affect over 580,000 people in England and Wales.

21% reduced risk

To look at the link between sunshine and rheumatoid arthritis, researchers from Harvard Medical School monitored two groups of more than 100,000 women in the US. The first group of women were followed from 1976, and the second group from 1989.

Writing in the journal Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases, they found that UV levels had an effect on rheumatoid arthritis risk in the 1976 group. Those living in the sunniest areas were 21% less likely to develop the condition than those getting the lowest levels of sunshine.

However, the same link was not seen in the 1989 group. The researchers believe that these women may have used more sun cream or other protective methods against UV radiation. 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."

The sunshine vitamin

Experts believe that vitamin D is the reason behind the link between sunlight and rheumatoid arthritis. Low levels of vitamin D have already been linked with other immune disorders like multiple sclerosis.

Vitamin D, dubbed the ‘sunshine vitamin’, is made by our body under the skin in reaction to summer sunlight. Vitamin D can also be found in a small number of foods, such as oily fish and fortified cereals.

Prof Alan Silman, medical director of Arthritis Research UK, said: "We know that many people with arthritis have low levels of vitamin D and this can have a powerful effect on the types of immune cells which may cause this condition.

"We're currently doing research to find out how this happens and are performing lab studies to find out whether vitamin D can alter the aggressive immune response found in rheumatoid arthritis and turn it into a less harmful or even a protective one.”

Harmful UV radiation

However, experts also warn people to stay safe in the sun to protect against skin cancer. Dr Chris Deighton, the president 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.”

If you want to be covered for private cancer treatment, make sure you choose a private medical insurance policy with comprehensive cancer cover.

© ActiveQuote Ltd. 2013


Categories:  Health
Living in the sunshine reduces your risk of rheumatoid arthritisLiving in sunnier parts of the world may reduce your risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis, according to a US study. Vitamin D has been d    tweet it on twittershare with your friends on Facebookshare with your friends on MySpaceBlog it on your LinkedIn profile
 

No.1 health insurance broker as rated by customers

I found the quality of service to be very helpful, and pretty much above my expectation. I'd recommend anyone to use ActiveQuote.

Review centre member

Very helpful and polite and always try their best to obtain the best quotes. Have been using them for the last 3 years and will continue to use them in the future.

Review centre member

A great service from the initial call, to finalising the agreement. I would highly recommend to my family and friends.

Review centre member

Proactive, efficient, and offered me insurance I need. I would say half price I would end up paying if I did it by myself. Many thanks.

Review centre member

Excellent service. Explained everything in detail and really helped to find the right insurance best suited to my needs - which wasn't necessarily the most expensive. 

Review centre member

Good value and the advisor was very helpful and recommended the best policy for my grandson. I would definitely use this service again and recommend to others.

Review centre member

We were contacted in good time to make a knowledgable choice. We were given plenty of options with lots of information to enable us to make the right choice.

Review centre member

The service I received was excellent, the staff member was very efficient and knowledgable. She went out of her way to get the best policy for me.

Review centre member

Great service. I really appreciated the help provided by Active Quote to arrange health insurance. The agent was very informative and proactive. Many thanks!

Review centre member

I received excellent care and attention from the first phone call till the last. Friendly, efficient and patient.

Review centre member
 
This site is operated by Insurance Broker ActiveQuote Ltd registered in England & Wales company number 6765845.
Authorised and Regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). Firm reference number 501109 as detailed on the Financial Services Register. Please read our Key Facts document.
For information about your rights as a consumer visit Citizens Advice.

Our insurance comparison service is free and easy for you to use, but you are responsible for making sure all your information is entered correctly, and for choosing your insurer.

This site uses cookies in order to work correctly - these are not harmful and do not contain personal information. By using this site you consent to this. I understand  Tell me more

please wait ...