Solar radiation is inversely associated with inflammatory bowel disease admissions
Objective: To explore the associations between latitude and solar radiation with inflammatory bowel disease admission rates in Chile, the country with the largest variation in solar radiation in the world.
Patients and methods: This is an ecological study, which included data on all hospital-admitted population for inflammatory bowel disease between 2001 and 2012, according to different latitudes and solar radiation exposures in Chile. The data were acquired from the national hospital discharge database from the Department of Health Statistics and Information of the Chilean Ministry of Health.
Results: Between 2001 and 2012 there were 12,869 admissions due to inflammatory bowel disease (69% ulcerative colitis, 31% Crohn’s disease). Median age was 36 years (IQR: 25–51); 57% were female. The national inflammatory bowel disease admission rate was 6.52 (95% CI: 6.40–6.63) per 100,000 inhabitants with increasing rates over the 12-year period. In terms of latitude, the highest admission rates for pediatric ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease, as well as adult ulcerative colitis, were observed in the southernmost region with lowest annual solar radiation. Linear regression analysis showed that regional solar radiation was inversely associated with inflammatory bowel disease admissions in Chile (β: −.44, p = .03).
Conclusions: Regional solar radiation was inversely associated with inflammatory bowel disease admission rates in Chile; inflammatory bowel disease admissions were highest in the southernmost region with lowest solar radiation. Our results support the potential role of vitamin D deficiency on inflammatory bowel disease flares.