'Let the Sunshine In' to Protect your Heart this Winter

News Archive November 17, 2008

'Let the Sunshine In' to Protect your Heart this Winter

Loyola Researchers Find Sunshine Deficit May Diminish Vitamin D Levels and Harm Cardiovascular Health
MAYWOOD - The temperature might not be the only thing plummeting this winter. Many people also will experience a decrease in their vitamin D levels, which can play a role in heart disease, according to a new review article in Circulation. Vitamin D deficiency results in part from reduced exposure to sunlight, which is common during cold weather months when days are shorter and more time is spent indoors. "Chronic vitamin D deficiency may be a culprit in heart disease, high blood pressure and metabolic syndrome," said Sue Penckofer, PhD, RN, study author and professor, Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing, Loyola University Chicago. The review article cited a number of studies that linked vitamin D deficiency to heart disease. These studies found rates of severe disease or death may be 30 to 50 percent higher among sun-deprived individuals with heart disease. Penckofer and colleagues concluded that diet alone is not sufficient to manage vitamin D levels. Treatment options to correct this level, such as vitamin D2 or D3, may decrease the risk of severe disease or death from cardiovascular disorders. The preferred range in the body is 30 - 60 ng/mL of 25(OH) vitamin D. "Most physicians do not routinely test for vitamin D deficiency," said Penckofer. "However, most experts would agree that adults at risk for heart disease and others who experience fatigue joint pain or depression should have their vitamin D levels measured." Study authors also included Glen W. Sizemore, MD, emeritus professor of Medicine, Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism, Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine, and Diane E. Wallis, MD, Midwest Heart Specialists, Downers Grove, Ill. ###
Loyola University Health System (LUHS) is a member of Trinity Health. Based in the western suburbs of Chicago, LUHS is a quaternary care system with a 61-acre main medical center campus, the 36-acre Gottlieb Memorial Hospital campus and more than 30 primary and specialty care facilities in Cook, Will and DuPage counties. The medical center campus is conveniently located in Maywood, 13 miles west of the Chicago Loop and 8 miles east of Oak Brook, Ill. The heart of the medical center campus is a 559-licensed-bed hospital that houses a Level 1 Trauma Center, a Burn Center and the Ronald McDonald® Children's Hospital of Loyola University Medical Center. Also on campus are the Cardinal Bernardin Cancer Center, Loyola Outpatient Center, Center for Heart & Vascular Medicine and Loyola Oral Health Center as well as the LUC Stritch School of Medicine, the LUC Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing and the Loyola Center for Fitness. Loyola's Gottlieb campus in Melrose Park includes the 255-licensed-bed community hospital, the Professional Office Building housing 150 private practice clinics, the Adult Day Care, the Gottlieb Center for Fitness, Loyola Center for Metabolic Surgery and Bariatric Care and the Loyola Cancer Care & Research at the Marjorie G. Weinberg Cancer Center at Melrose Park.
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