I’ll Follow the Sun

I’m a hypochondriac but only incidentally. Every day I read a list of breakthrough information in health that directly contrasts with my being. Look at sunscreen for example. We know that wearing sunscreen prevents cancer, but not just sunscreen, it has to be broad-spectrum, meaning it blocks out both UVA and UVB rays. To recap, UVA rays cause premature skin and wrinkles while UVB rays are what cause sunburns. Too much of either can cause skin cancer and lead to death.

The Mayo Clinic (www.mayoclinic.org) suggests wearing broad-spectrum sunscreen at all times as well as hats, keep skin covered, and to avoid the sun altogether between the hours of 10:00 am and 2:00 pm. The sun is bad. We get it. But is that true?

UVB rays are also what causes the skin to produce vitamin D. It was once thought vitamin D was only good for healthy bones and teeth and a lack of it could result in fractures, or a deformity in kids called Rickets.

Now, however, according to http://www.universityhealthnews.com citing a Boston University study, vitamin D may affect the DNA of genes with “biologic functions” linked to heart disease, depression, autoimmune disorders, and cancer.

The Vitamin D Council (www.vitamindcouncil.org) has a different mindset when it comes to blocking out the sun. They contend that vitamin D is essential and that there are only three ways to get it; sun exposure, food, and supplements.

They suggest exposing large sections of bare skin (such as the back as oppose to just the face and arms) to sunlight because of the more exposure, the more vitamin D your body produces. Even though it’s found in food, naturally, it’s in small doses, so they propose taking a vitamin D supplement, too.

According to the council, the best time of day for sun exposure is in the middle of the day, with a note that the amount of exposure time has to do with how close you live to the equator and the color of your skin; pale skin equates to quick vitamin D production.

I’ve read there are other factors to consider when it comes to sunlight, too. Altitude is an issue because when living in higher elevations, such as Salt Lake City, Utah, the sun is more intense. Cloudy or a sky full of pollution (again, like we have here in SLC, Utah) will reflect UVB rays back into the atmosphere—as a side step, Utah also a high rate of gals downing antidepressants. Interesting. Oh, yeah, and glass blocks rays, too.

So to be healthy and happy, you must live at the beach, preferably in a house without windows, near a pharmaceutical, where everybody rides bikes to get around. Actually, that sounds pretty perfect. Sign me up!

Something else that seems contrary to my being is that recently I was diagnosed with something called POTS or Postural Tachycardia Syndrome. POTS is a common type of dysautonomia or dysfunction of the autonomic nervous system or ANS. ANS is what regulates heart rate, blood pressure, body temperature, respiration, sweating, digestion, plus anxiety and insomnia, etc., etc., etc. and other scientific-y stuff.

A diagnosis of some weird syndrome is nothing new to me—it’s been going on for twenty-plus years. It’s how to fix the problem that still eludes me.

With my type of POTS comes another issue called Joint Hypermobility Syndrome (JHS) which basically means because I’m double-jointed, I don’t get enough blood circulation—it’s complicated, you might have to look it up on your own time.

So here’s the gist of my health issues: with POTS I have severe head-rush whenever I go from sitting to standing that lasts a while and causes poor concentration, tiredness, weakness, and wild heart palpitations. I’m too stressed out all the time, and I don’t get enough of the right kind of sleep at night.

On top of that, I respond to exercise erratically because my body cannot regulate my heart rate, blood pressure, or body temperature, meaning I don’t sweat. Therefore I overheat and could faint (it has happened before and at the gym, no less). The solution to my POTS symptoms is to lie down.

But (there’s always a but, huh?) I also have a type of hypermobility meaning to get my blood to circulate I must get it pumping, such as through exercise…see what I mean? Damned if I do, damned if I don’t.

Furthermore, what’s the constant suggestive treatment to both my new syndromes? To get plenty of Vitamin D!!! Of course, it is.

I’m stuck in a vicious cycle of self-absorption. In trying to understand how to make myself feel better, I’m tapped into what I’m physically feeling, leading to reading and research on the latest technologies, which gives contrasting viewpoints, which then makes me worried about whether or not I really do have certain symptoms…blah, blah, blah…hypochondria. I’m the embodiment of the kid’s story, ‘There Was An Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly’!

So here’s what I’ve concluded, there’s nothing that can help with what ails ya, so you might as well go on vacation. And if that’s not good advice at least, it’s fun advice.





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