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Free Content Does an active sun exposure habit lower the risk of venous thrombotic events? A D-lightful hypothesis

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Background: Venous and arterial thrombotic complications exhibit a seasonal variation, with risk peaking in winter and dropping to a nadir in summer. We sought a possible correlation between sun exposure habits and venous thromboembolism (VTE) events. Methods: This was a cohort study comprising 40 000 women (1000 per year of age from 25 to 64 years) who were drawn from the southern Swedish population registry for 1990 and followed for a mean of 11 years. Seventy-four per cent answered an inquiry at the inception of the study (n = 29 518), and provided detailed information on their sun exposure habits. Cox regression analysis was used with the presence of VTE as a dependent variable and selected demographics as independent variables. The main outcome was the relationship between VTE and sun exposure habits. Results: Swedish women who sunbathed during the summer, on winter vacations, or when abroad, or used a tanning bed, were at 30% lower risk of VTE than those who did not. Risk estimates did not change substantially after adjustment for demographic variables. The risk of VTE increased by 50% in winter as compared to the other seasons; the lowest risk was found in the summer. Conclusions: Women with more active sun exposure habits were at a significantly lower risk of VTE. We speculate that greater ultraviolet B light exposure improves a person’s vitamin D status, which in turn enhances anticoagulant properties and enhances the cytokine profile.
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Keywords: sun exposure habits; venous thromboembolism

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Clintec, Karolinska University Hospital, Huddinge, Stockholm 2: Department of Gynaecology, Lund University Hospital, Lund University, Lund 3: Department of Oncology and Cancer Epidemiology, Lund University Hospital, Lund University, Lund, Sweden

Publication date: April 1, 2009

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