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Research Suggests Sunlight Good For Blood Pressure

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(Dr. Brian McDonough) Dr. Brian McDonough
Dr. Brian McDonough has been medical editor at KYW Newsradio for more...
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By Dr. Brian McDonough, Medical Editor

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) - We know that sunshine can be good for us. It is a mood elevator – and much needed at this time of year. It also plays a key role in building strong bones. It may also have an impact on your blood pressure.

We know that cardiovascular disease, often associated with high blood pressure, accounts for 30% of deaths.

A study from the University of Edinburgh suggests that a healthy dose of sunlight every day can actually help lower your blood pressure. Researchers exposed the skin of 24 healthy individuals to a dose of ultraviolet A radiation, equal to spending around 30 minutes in natural sunlight. Their results suggest that UVA exposure expands blood vessels. The authors think this has to do with a chemical called nitric oxide.

Remember we are just talking about a reasonable day-to-day approach. You don’t want to overdo it because too much exposure can lead to premature aging of the skin and skin cancer.