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Physical Activity May Lower Risk of Cardiovascular Disease in Patients With Psoriasis


Physical activity was significantly associated with cardiorespiratory fitness and pulse wave velocity, a preclinical indicator of future cardiovascular disease risk, in patients with psoriasis.

Exercise may reduce the risk of future cardiovascular disease (CVD) in patients with psoriasis, according to study findings published in Clinical and Experimental Dermatology.

As one of the most common immune-mediated diseases in the United States, psoriasis has been associated with several CVD risk factors, including obesity, hypertension, and insulin resistance.

Further contributing to risk of adverse cardiovascular health, reduced physical activity has been reported in patients with psoriasis, in which several disease-specific barriers have been shown to impact adherence in patients, including severity, skin sensitivity, clothing choice, participation in social/leisure activities, and treatments.

Notably, research has indicated that aerobic exercise may significantly improve arterial stiffness, a predictor of cardiovascular events and mortality that is measured via pulse wave velocity (PMW).  “Studies suggest that moderate to severe chronic plaque psoriasis may be independently associated with increased arterial stiffness, although the effect of physical activity on arterial stiffness in psoriasis is not known,” said the study authors.

Investigating whether physical activity influences CVD risk in patients with psoriasis, they collected data on 242 patients with chronic plaque psoriasis (men, n = 124; 23% had psoriatic arthritis) aged 18 and older from a regional psoriasis clinic and primary care centers in North-West England.

Researchers also explored the objective measurement efficacy of diastolic reflection area (DRA), a complex dimensionless variable that describes key determinants of left ventricular function impacted by arterial stiffness, in correlation with cardiorespiratory fitness and CVD.

“DRA is significantly higher in those who exercise, suggesting that it may objectively quantify volume of physical activity undertaken,” they noted.

Of the study cohort, 21% had PWV indicating arterial stiffness and 27% had DRA suggesting impaired coronary circulation.

In correlation with future risk of CVD, a significant association was found for volume of physical activity, as measured by PMW (P = .017), as well as with DRA (< .001). Furthermore, a significant relationship was observed between health-promoting levels of physical activity and the DRA (P < .001).

Noting that data supports the potential use of DRA as a surrogate marker for cardiorespiratory fitness, researchers said the non-invasive clinical tool warrants further investigation in the measurement of physical activity.

“Our study describes a significant relationship between exercise, cardiorespiratory fitness, and PWV, a preclinical indicator of future CVD risk, in patients with psoriasis,” concluded the study authors. “A tailored approach to increasing physical activity in the psoriasis population could help diminish CVD risk.”


Auker L, Cordingley L, Griffiths CEM, Young HS. Physical activity is important for cardiovascular health and cardiorespiratory fitness in patients with psoriasis. Clin Exp Dermatol. Published online August 8, 2021. doi:10.1111/ced.14872

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Mona Shahriari, MD, assistant clinical professor of dermatology at Yale University and associate director of clinical trials at Central Connecticut Dermatology
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