Washington: A new study has established a link between rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and vitamin D deficiency.
The study looked at data from the Nurses`` Health Study, a long-term cohort study of U.S. female nurses. Looking at the residential addresses, health outcomes and behavioral risk factors for participants between 1988 and 2002, researchers based their findings on 461 women who had RA, compared to a large control group of 9,220. RA is a chronic inflammatory disease that affects the lining of the joints, mostly in the hands and knees. This chronic arthritis is characterized by swelling and redness and can wear down the cartilage between bones. RA is two to three times more common in women than in men. Although the cause of RA is unknown, the researchers wrote, earlier studies have shown that Vitamin D deficiency, which can be caused by a lack of sunlight, has already been associated with a variety of other autoimmune diseases. "A geographic association with northern latitudes has also been observed for multiple sclerosis and Crohn``s disease, other autoimmune diseases that may be mediated by reduced vitamin D from decreased solar exposure and the immune effects of vitamin D deficiency," the authors wrote. The authors said further research is needed to look into the relationship between vitamin D exposure and RA.
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