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A new study linking vitamin D deficiency to rheumatoid arthritis shows that women living in the Northeast may be at a higher risk of developing the joint ailment.
Researchers say this is because women in the region are exposed to less sunlight, which results in a higher prevalence of vitamin D deficiency.
The link came as a surprise to Dr Veronica Vieira, who said in her report, published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives, that she and her team were expecting to find more ecological links to arthritis risk.
"The results were unexpected," she said. "Prior to the analysis, we were more interested in the relationship with air pollution. I hadn't given latitudes much thought."
Vitamin D deficiency can be treated with either an oral dose or injection.
In addition to increasing the risk of developing rheumetiod arthritis, lacking the vitamin can lead to poor insulin control, cardiovascular disease, and immune system problems, other research has show.
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