Thursday, May 15, 2008

Here Comes the Sun

Here comes the do do do - those Beatles.  "Here Comes the Sun" is my second favorite Beatles classic after "Yellow Submarine". 

Our forecast here in the Pacific Northwest finally includes some sunshine, and I am giddy with anticipation. I need to remind myself, however, that I will have to enjoy the beautiful weather from the safety of my patio umbrella.

It is common for people with various autoimmune diseases to be very sensitive to the effects of the sun. This very good article by the Arthritis Foundation describes many of the problems that can result from exposure to the sun's rays. 

In addition to the usual warnings about sunburn and skin cancer as a result of overexposure to sunlight, the author warns of even more serious effects.

 "Deep-penetrating ultraviolet A rays damage cell DNA inhibiting how and when cells grow and divide.......Recent research has connected UV radiation with the development of cancer of lymphoid tissue including Hodgkin's disease, non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, and leukemia." 

For those with the autoimmune disease Lupus, direct sunshine can even cause the disease process to flare. 

Several medications commonly used to treat Sjogren's Syndrome can exaggerate the potential of sunlight to inflict damage to the skin including Plaquenil, methotrexate, Azulfadine, and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. 

Aside from the effects of UV rays, sitting in the warmth of sunshine can adversely affect me in other ways. Sjogren's has decreased my body's ability to regulate it's internal temperature. I can quickly become acutely uncomfortable after only short periods in increased temperatures. 

Guess I'll have to forego the afternoons of lounging on the patio recliner working on a tan. Hmmm......where did I put that tan-in-a-can

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