Exercise tied to lower risk of psoriasis: studyWritten by Reuters Health
(Reuters Health) - Results from a large U.S. study suggest women who regularly exercise vigorously, including runners and aerobics buffs, may be less likely to get psoriasis than less-active women.
Researchers have known that people who are overweight or smokers have a higher risk of the chronic skin disease, which is characterized by itchy and painful plaques.
In the new study, women who said they spent more than one hour per week running or at least four hours per week doing aerobics seemed to be partially protected against psoriasis, even after their weight and other lifestyle habits were taken into account.
"What we don't know for sure at this stage is whether losing weight and exercising vigorously will prevent you from getting psoriasis," said Dr. Joel Gelfand, a dermatologist from the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine in Philadelphia, who wasn't involved in the new study.
"But these are all things that are good to do anyway and have multiple proven benefits beyond their effect on the skin," he told Reuters Health. So it wouldn't hurt for people at risk of psoriasis, including those with a family history of the condition, to step up their exercise routine.
Data for the new report came from the long-running Nurses' Health Study II, which has been used to track risks for a range of health conditions in women.
The current analysis involved about 87,000 women without psoriasis who were surveyed on their exercise habits at three points over the course of a decade, starting when they were between 27 and 44 years old.
Over the 14 years following the first survey, just over 1,000 women were diagnosed with psoriasis.
Dr. Abrar Qureshi from Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston and his colleagues found that women who reported the most vigorous physical activity each week were 27 percent less likely to get psoriasis than the least-active women.
About two hours of weekly running, they calculated, was tied to a 25 to 30 percent lower chance of getting psoriasis over the course of the study.
On the other hand, less-vigorous activities including walking weren't linked to a decreased risk of psoriasis, the researchers reported Monday in the Archives of Dermatology.
Qureshi said the findings only apply to women in the U.S., and further research is needed to see if there's any link between physical activity and psoriasis risk in men, for example.
SOURCE: bit.ly/Js53V2 Archives of Dermatology, online May 21, 2012.