Extreme sun protection to blame? Woman in China fractures ribs after coughing

One woman in China found out the hard way that vanity has its price.

A 32-year-old woman from Hangzhou reportedly landed herself in hospital after fracturing her ribs from coughing, Chinese media reported. 

The woman, who was given a pseudonym, Lu, recalled how she had awoken in pain after experiencing a coughing fit.

A CT scan of her chest found that Lu had a rib fracture on her right side, reported Red Star News. Despite her relatively young age, Lu was later diagnosed with osteoporosis, which is caused by calcium or vitamin D deficiencies. 

According to sources online, post-menopausal women above the age of 50 are most at risk for developing the disease, which results in low bone mass. The condition afflicts one in five women in that age bracket, reported the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Lu’s blood was also found to contain very low levels of vitamin D – a risk factor to developing osteoporosis. Without vitamin D, the body is less able to absorb calcium.

While fracturing one’s ribs from coughing might sound unbelievable, one healthcare professional interviewed by Sohu News, however, revealed that such incidents are not uncommon.

The deputy chief of nursing at a Hangzhou hospital revealed that there have been 10 such cases of rib fractures since the start of the year, with most of them due to severe coughing. The fractures were not discovered until after a physical examination, when a CT scan of their lungs was performed. 

Chinese news media also reported how more young people are developing the condition earlier in life.

According to the news reports, doctors shared how osteoporosis in young people is closely related to their work and lifestyle habits, as many patients engage in excessive sun protection, do not like to exercise, and are addicted to things like drinking carbonated drinks and coffee.

In Lu’s case, excessive sun protection was posited as one of the underlying causes of her condition.

According to Lu’s doctor, Lu took extreme measures to maintain her appearance and prevent sun damage. This included making sure to wear sunscreen, a sunhat as well as ultraviolet (UV)-protection clothing whenever she went out, reported Jiupai News.

The doctor stated as a reminder, however, that 80 to 90 per cent of of the vitamin D needed by the human body is synthesized by the skin through sun exposure.

According to the Healthline website, regular exposure to the sun’s rays is the most natural way to obtain sufficient vitamin D. It added that the amount of exposure required depends on how sensitive one’s skin is to light, and that people who live farther away from the equator typically need more sunlight due to the weaker UV rays.

ALSO READ: From ‘facekinis’ to arm sleeves, sun protection gear sells out in China heatwave


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