A new study shows a big new arena for vitamin D in terms of health. The nutrient that keeps coming up in the media has sprung forth in this field: preventing lung diseases. And not just any lung disease; ‘autoimmune’ diseases that have no cure and are quite serious.
Researchers at the University of Cincinnati say that a vitamin D deficiency-not having enough of the nutrient in your body-is known to influence the development of some autoimmune diseases, such as lupus and type 1 diabetes. But what they wanted was to determine if a lack of adequate vitamin D would also be observed in patients with interstitial lung disease (ILD), and if vitamin D was linked with lung function.
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ILD is a chronic autoimmune disease. An autoimmune disease occurs when the body produces abnormal cells that turn on the body and attack major organs and tissues. Connective tissue diseases include lupus, scleroderma and rheumatic arthritis. ILD is actually a set of diseases that mainly affect lung tissues, instead of the airways (like, for instance, asthma does). ILD causes scarring of the lungs, is often hard to diagnosis and treat, and can be fatal.
Researchers looked at 118 patients-67 with connective tissue disease-related ILD and 51 with other causes of lung fibrosis-for blood levels of vitamin D. Overall, those with connective tissue disease-related ILD were most likely to have vitamin D deficiency (52%) and vitamin D insufficiency (79%) than those with other types of ILD.
What it means is that there exists an extensive vitamin D deficiency in patients with ILD. This then means the nutrient may have a role in keeping lung function from growing worse. If future studies show that vitamin D supplements are effective, it might lead to a significant new treatment for ILD.
Treatment plays a major role in controlling the inflammation of rheumatoid arthritis and minimizing joint damage. Treatment involves the mix of drug therapy and non-drug therapy.
Rheumatoid arthritis treatment depends on the seriousness of the disease, effectiveness of specific therapies and occurrence of any side effects.
The treatment for arthritis involves a long-term medical care with regular scheduled visits. This care often includes medical visits and tests to measure the effectiveness of treatment and monitor for side effects.
It is yet another major reason to make sure you get adequate vitamin D every day. On average, older adults should get between 1, 000 and 2, 000 IU a day.