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The sun and autoimmune diseases

Sun coming through a window

The sun sets the pace for all life on earth, it makes it possible. However, it can affect the health of people with autoimmune diseases.

The sun is the most important source of life and is essential for the development of living beings. People we need the sun to keep our bodies balanced and, although it presents risks, we know how to prevent the consequences of excessive exposure to the sun.

However, people with autoimmune diseases should stay out of the sun as it can lead to an aggravation of their disease. At Biosalud We are aware of this and would like to offer you some tips to help you lead a healthier life.

Photosensitivity and autoimmune diseases

The autoimmune disease is caused when the body's immune system fails and begins to attack healthy cells, mistaking them for aggressors. They can have a genetic origin but environmental factors have a great influence on the appearance of these pathologies. When the body reacts and a state of autoimmunity is generated, a series of ailments can appear, the autoimmune diseases, which may share symptoms.

Some of the symptoms shared by different autoimmune diseases could be summarised as follows:

  • Pain or swelling in joints.
  • Skin problems.
  • Abdominal pain or digestive difficulties.
  • Recurrent fever.
  • Swollen glands.

In any case, the symptoms are very broad and diverse and vary in intensity. In fact, many people may be suffering from an autoimmune disease without even being aware of it, blaming their discomfort on work, personal or family stress.

But what about the sun's rays? Many people with an autoimmune disease become photosensitive; exposure to the sun activates some of the symptoms of their disease and symptomatology flares up over a period of time.

At Biosalud we are specialists in autoimmune diseases and we want to help you. An accurate diagnosis could help you to take the necessary measures to alleviate your condition, such as protecting yourself from the sun. In this regard, the first thing we recommend is to maintain a photoprotection routine throughout the year, even on cloudy days.

UV radiation, free radicals and autoimmune disease

The sun sends us light that includes ultraviolet radiation. When it interacts with the cells of our body, it causes them to start to generate free radicals. When there is an excess of free radicals, cells begin to deteriorate and age. In this state, they may confuse an immune system, leading to autoimmune disease.

We should all protect ourselves from solar radiation, but even more so those who suffer from some of the ailments classified as autoimmune. Recent studies believe that there is a link between solar cycles and the incidence of autoimmune diseases.

And it appears that there is an increase in these ailments during the solar activity peaks. There is still much to be studied, but it seems to be increasingly clear that the sun has a bad influence on our metabolic system.

Sun protection tips

Many autoimmune diseases, such as lupus or scleroderma, involve photosensitivity and patients are used to protecting themselves from the sun. However, we know that UV radiation worsens any autoimmune ailment. At Biosalud we recommend that you follow the following tips, using them in your daily life.

  • Use sun protection high factor. It's your best shield against UV radiation. Concentrate on the face and exposed areas. Apply every two hours while outdoors.
  • Overheating has a negative impact. Try to stay indoors during the hottest part of the day. If you are forced to move around, always carry ice gel packs or frozen water bottles to cool down,
  • If you expose yourself to the sun, avoid further damage by covering yourself. It mainly covers those parts of the body that suffer from the ailment.
  • Use fresh fabrics such as cotton or linen. If you can, wear clothes that incorporate sun protection.

Remember that at Biosalud we are at your side. We know about autoimmune diseases and we can offer you a personalised treatmentaccompanying you all the way to your improvement.

Mariano Bueno

Dr. Mariano Bueno and his team

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