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09:14:42am | 12-Nov-2018 | 980 | 79

 

Published Sunday 11 November 2018

By Tim Newman

Fact checked by Gianna D'Emilio

 

Exposure to blue light may help combat hypertension, according to a recent study. If the findings are replicated in a larger sample, blue light could provide a cost-effective and side effect-free intervention.

Blue light style

Blue light may be the future of blood pressure treatment.

The results of an investigation into the effects of blue light on high blood pressure were recently published in the European Journal of Preventative Cardiology.

High blood pressure, or hypertension, is widespread in the United States and many other Western countries.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), high blood pressure is a primary or contributing cause of almost 1,000 deaths every day in the U.S.

Hypertension is also a risk factor for more serious conditions, such as heart attackstroke, and kidney disease. For these reasons, managing blood pressure effectively is a high priority.

Currently, doctors usually prescribe medications such as angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitors and calcium channel blockers to help manage hypertension. Although these can be effective, side effects are common and include a persistent dry cough and dizziness.

Because high blood pressure is so prevalent, a great deal of research has investigated its causes. The importance of lifestyle, including diet and exercise, cannot be overstated, while other risk factors play smaller roles.

For instance, studies have demonstrated that exposure to sunlight influences hypertension. Blood pressure is, on average, lower during the summer months, and some research has linked high levels of long-term sunlight exposure to a reduced risk of dying from cardiovascular disease.

The bittersweet symphony of sunlight

Exposure to excessive levels of sunlight damages the skin, causing premature aging. Research has also established that ultraviolet (UV) light is a carcinogen — excessive exposure increases the riskof developing skin cancer.

On the other hand, as sunlight hits our skin, it drives a chemical reaction that produces vitamin D, which plays a range of essential roles in the body.

UV light also affects nitric oxide (NO) levels, and NO is an important signaling molecule in humans and virtually all other organisms.