A new study published in the August issue of Arthritis & Rheumatism by researchers at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS), a department of the National Institutes of Health, finds that ultraviolet radiation (UV) from sunlight may cause women to develop certain autoimmune diseases.
For the study, NIEHS researchers worked with several medical centers across the country that treat patients with an autoimmune muscle condition known as myositis. They evaluated 380 patients with the disease and measured their autoantibodies. The researchers found that women who lived in areas with higher levels of UV exposure were more likely to "develop the form [of the disease] known as dermatomysositis, which weakens the muscles and causes distinctive rashes" rather than developing a less severe type of disease that does not cause rashes.
Although the researchers say that "more research is clearly needed to understand the potential links between UV radiation and the development of autoimmune diseases and autoantibodies in women," they note that the research underscores other research showing that autoimmune diseases are triggered after one or more environmental exposures in genetically susceptible people. Additionally they add that the sutyd adds UV radiation to the every expanding list of exvironments triggers for development of autoimmune conditions.
And, of course since autoimmune conditions are inherently linked to one another, if you are diagnosed with one condition, it's important to be on the lookout for symptoms of others including celiac disease. To learn more about this study and other autoimmune conditions, please visit the National Institutes of Health.