Enjoy the Sun but use a Sunscreen
At 7am on Wednesday morning I could be found gnashing my teeth as I tried to enjoy my early morning cup of tea and watch the news. I am a morning person and as such I am not easily provoked, well at least not until lunchtime. How, you may ask, could the BBC cause such consternation so early in the morning?
The news contained an item about research being carried out into the relationship between sun exposure and blood pressure. Researchers at Edinburgh University have discovered that 20 minutes of sun exposure lowers blood pressure. They plan to continue the research to see if this effect may be used to reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke; the risk of both is increased in patients with high blood pressure.
Keep Young and Beautiful
Now I don’t know about you but if you told me that there was a possibility that cream cakes could benefit my health I’d race to the nearest bakery for a stock of éclairs and inform anyone that cared to enquire that they were purely medicinal. Simply put I need only the flimsiest evidence to believe that the things I enjoy might be good for me. The success of the Atkins diets would lead me to believe that I’m not alone and that this type of behaviour is a feature of human nature.
Who wouldn’t want to eat a diet rich in protein and fat, lose weight AND stay healthy or spend hours baking in the sun getting a golden glow and looking after their heart? All of which explains my concern over the news item yesterday morning. I have visions of people stocking up on baby oil and lining sun loungers with tin foil, all in the name of heart health.
Working in the field of medical aesthetics I meet people who want to undo the damage that past sun exposure has done to their skin. I also meet people that have been affected by skin cancer so I am very keen to make sure that people are not misled by a news item that reports research still in its infancy.
Researchers have yet to prove a link between sun exposure and reduced risk of stroke or heart attack. So far the research has only concluded that 20 minutes of sun exposure can lower blood pressure and that the effect can last for up to an hour. It is also worth bearing in mind that there were only 24 subjects in the study. Unfortunately the news report did not share this information with viewers so that they would be able to form a balanced view of this new information. Time will tell if research finds that current advice on sun exposure needs to be changed but let’s wait for that research to be completed before we put ourselves at risk.
Benefits of Sun Exposure
At Qutis we acknowledge that sun exposure has many benefits. There is no denying that we all feel more cheerful when the sun comes out and we are more active when the weather is warmer which is great for our health and well being. The sun is also essential for bone health as it is very difficult to meet all our vitamin D requirements through diet alone.
Qutis does not advocate total sun avoidance, our message is fairly simple; enjoy the sun safely; wear a high factor sunscreen (one that protects against UVA and UVB rays) and avoid being out in direct sun during the hottest times of the day; wear a hat if necessary. The Qutis team want you to keep young, beautiful and above all healthy.
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Article by Ruth – Ruth Roberts RN works at Qutis in Abingdon.