Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Vitamin D Deficiency and Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune disorder which causes inflammation in the lining of the joints. The immune system has antibodies that normally attack invaders to the body and in RA, they mistakenly attack the lining of the joints. It is very painful and leads to damage of the cartilage between bones. The cause of this disease is still unknown and it can cause permanent disability. Patients with RA can experience other problems including fevers, feeling tired and problems with the lungs and heart.

Did you know that Rheumatoid Arthritis is two to three times more likely to afflict women than men? Women living in the northern latitudes are more prone to getting it than women living closer to the equator. Women living in the north are also more likely to have Vitamin D Deficiency and research is pointing to a link between this deficiency and RA.

One of the studies I found was published in the Environmental Health Perspectives and clearly showed the risk is higher in northern latitudes. Researchers believe it might be connected to Vitamin D Deficiency because of less exposure to sunlight in northern latitudes such as Oregon or Washington in the U.S. Vitamin D can affect immune system function. There are also studies and research that have found a connection between higher latitudes and other autoimmune diseases including Multiple Sclerosis and Crohn's Disease.

If you have been diagnosed with an autoimmune disease, find out what your Vitamin D level is since you are likely to be deficient. Know your level even if you are healthy and keep your level up since Vitamin D has been shown as a preventive of a host of diseases.

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