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International Journal of Endocrinology
Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 732636, 8 pages
Clinical Study

Associations of Sun Exposure with 25-Hydroxyvitamin D and Parathyroid Hormone Levels in a Cohort of Hypertensive Patients: The Graz Endocrine Causes of Hypertension (GECOH) Study

1Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism, Department of Internal Medicine, Medical University of Graz, 8036 Graz, Austria
2Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics and EMGO Institute for Health and Care Research, VU University Medical Center, 1081 BT Amsterdam, The Netherlands
3Clinical Institute of Medical and Chemical Laboratory Diagnostics, Medical University of Graz, 8036 Graz, Austria

Received 13 October 2011; Accepted 5 December 2011

Academic Editor: Vin Tangpricha

Copyright © 2012 Stefan Pilz et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Sunlight-induced vitamin D, synthesis in the skin is the major source of vitamin D, but data on the relationship of sun-related behaviour with vitamin D and parathyroid hormone (PTH) levels are relatively sparse. We evaluated whether habitual sun exposure is associated with 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25[OH]D) and PTH levels and whether there exist seasonal variations. We examined 111 hypertensive patients in Austria (latitude 47° N). Frequent sunbathing at home and outdoor sports were associated with higher 25(OH)D levels ( for both). Red or blond scalp hair as a child, memory of sunburns, preferring sunbathing, frequent stays on the beach or in open-air pools, and solarium use were associated with lower PTH levels ( for all). Multiple linear regression analyses including age, sex, and body mass index showed that sun exposure score was significantly associated with 25(OH)D (beta ; ) and by trend with PTH (beta ; ). These associations were more prominent in summer in which 25(OH)D levels were significantly higher compared to winter. Translation of these findings into recommendations for the prevention and treatment of vitamin D deficiency remains a challenge for the future.