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Individuals who have a family history or other risk factors for developing autoimmune lung disease may benefit from vitamin D testing, as a new study published in the journal Chest has shown that low levels of the nutrient may be linked to the potentially life-threatening condition.
Recent research has connected vitamin D to a range of lung conditions. It may play a role in asthma and other childhood lung diseases. Now, the new study has shown that low levels of the nutrient may lead to even more serious conditions.
For the study, researchers evaluated 118 patients who were being treated at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center for interstitial lung diseases (ILD), which are autoimmune conditions that cause scarring of the lungs and can be difficult to diagnose.
The researchers found that 52 percent of these patients had vitamin D deficiency, which is far higher than would be expected in the general population.
"These findings suggest that there is a high prevalence of vitamin D deficiency in patients with ILD, particularly those with connective tissue disease," said Brent Kinder, who led the investigation. "Therefore, vitamin D may have a role in the development of connective tissue disease-related ILD and patients' worsening lung function."
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