Psoriasis is a chronic skin condition where the skin cells replicate much faster than the normal, causing skin bumps, patches, and scales. In a recent study by Swedish scientists, psoriasis has been linked with a physical fitness level of a person. A low fitness level has been penned down as a high-risk factor for psoriasis, an autoimmune disease. Men who were recruited for the military training and deemed fit were rated non-fit with a high risk of being diagnosed with psoriasis later in life.
The study used data of nearly 1.2 million men over 18 years of age who were recruited for the Swedish Armed Forces during the years 1968 to 2005. All of these people were reported to have the same physical fitness level which was confirmed by a fitness test that involved an exercise bicycle.
The research team grouped these people into three categories low, medium, and high, based on their fitness levels. Then, this data was mixed with other registers, with the help of the National Patient Register (Sweden) which provided the diagnostic codes to identify psoriatic arthritis and psoriasis patients. Those who were already identified with any of these two diseases were excluded from this new study.
In later years, between the age of 37 to 51 years, nearly 23,000 conscripts from the initial data were diagnosed with psoriasis or a joints disease, psoriatic arthritis. The low fitness group showed a 2.5% incidence of any or both of these medical conditions. The high fitness group only reported a 1.7% increase only. While calculating the risk, other factors, for example, body mass index (BMI) was adjusted by the research team.
While there are chances that this relation could be casual, the research team reports it is not. Men with low fitness levels during recruitment were found to have psoriasis and/or psoriatic arthritis after some years. This risk of developing psoriasis in the low fitness group was 35% higher than the high fitness group and the risk of psoriatic arthritis was 44% higher in the low fitness group, as compared to the high fitness groups.
It clearly shows the link between fitness level and development of psoriasis as well as psoriatic arthritis and this relationship is not casual. But this also doesn’t mean that improving the fitness level and health can save a person from psoriasis and there could be more information that is yet to be explored.
For example, the low-fitness group people were the lowest in number. The original number of patients, they were only 3.9%, which means 48,000 people only. This group deserves close monitoring by healthcare experts.
The low fitness level is not only linked with psoriasis but also has a relation with cardiovascular diseases.
This current study emphasizes assessing the physical fitness levels from an early age so that the high-risk individuals can be marked and suggested with preventive measures.
The previous evidence suggests that psoriasis patients are generally not as healthy as other people without psoriasis. However, there is no clear explanation behind this difference in fitness levels.