For many, sun protection means skin protection. Some may go a step further and include eye protection. But what about kidney protection?
For up to 70% of people with the autoimmune disease Lupus, avoiding exposure to UV light could prevent kidney damage.
UV radiation causes cell damage. Once damaged, those cells are cleared by the immune system. For many with Lupus, those cells are cleared much slower.
Known as photosensitivity, this adverse reaction to UV light can cause fatigue, joint pain, and even kidney disease.
While the correlation between UV exposure and inflammatory symptoms in Lupus patients has been made, very little is known about it. A recent study at The Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth has shed a lot of light on how sunlight exposure leads to kidney damage. The research team’s investigation into the role of neutrophils, a type of white blood cell, in the process could eventually lead to more effective treatments for the condition.
While we are still learning about photosensitivity in Lupus patients, one thing is clear, proper sun protection helps. That means daily use of sunscreen and UPF 50+ sun protection apparel.
Not that we needed it, but we now have yet another reason to be sun-safe.