Psoriasis is associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD). Despite recommendation that exercise is important for cardiorespiratory fitness, patients with psoriasis avoid participation in physical activities for reasons which are, as yet, unclear.
This study investigated the relationship between psoriasis-specific experiences and self-reported patterns of exercise, hypothesising that individuals with psoriasis are less likely to engage in physical activity for reasons which are related to their psoriasis.
404 patients with chronic plaque psoriasis were recruited. History, examination and physical activity was assessed for each participant.
52.8% (n=188) of patients with psoriasis aged 18 to 65 and 66.1% (n=37) of those over 65 engaged in less than the recommended amount of physical activity for cardiorespiratory fitness. As the severity and psychosocial impact of psoriasis increased the participation in exercise (of all intensities) decreased: significant negative correlation between Psoriasis Area and Severity Index and total activity in females aged 18 to 65 (r = -0.187, 95% confidence interval [CI] -0.36 - 0, p = 0.04), and significant negative correlation between physical activity and Dermatology Life Quality Index (DLQI) in all participants (r = -0.109, 95% CI -0.21 - 0, p = 0.04). Individual components of the DLQI identified barriers to physical activity including skin sensitivity and reluctance to participate in leisure activities.
Psoriasis-specific factors - severity, skin sensitivity, clothing choice, participation in social / leisure activities and treatments - contribute to exercise avoidance and may augment the increased risk of CVD in patients with psoriasis.