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Sports Playing and Physical Activity Shown to Decrease Psoriasis Incidents

Many individuals who suffer from psoriasis often experience too much pain to participate in regular bouts of physical activity. Yet a new observational study reports that physical activity is actually a vital component in both the prevention and management of the disease. The study was published in the Journal of the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology’s June issue.  
The research team, led by Nicola Balato, MD, administered physical examinations and questionnaires to a group of 416 subjects who participated in sports regularly and also to a group of 489 sex and age-matched controls. They compared the results to a group of 400 psoriatic patients who were also given similar examinations and questions. 
A similar proportion of patients in the control and active groups reported a family history of psoriasis, yet the research team found that the group of psoriatic patients not only had significantly fewer individuals who participated in sports activities compared to the control group, but also that the disease was significantly more common in the control group. Thirty-five out of 44 psoriatic patients shared that sporting activities positively influenced the natural course of their disease, and 95 psoriatic patients (23.75%) communicated that they regularly participated in sporting activities before the onset of the disease, highlighting that the presence of psoriasis is an obstacle for patients to continue practicing physical activities. 
Matteo Megna, MD, one of the study’s authors, explains, “Physical activity is one of the most powerful weapons to fight against weight gain, and it is able to decrease chronic inflammation, lowering levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines, all which play a major role in psoriasis pathogenesis.”
Dr. Megna states that exercise can still help patients who already experience physical limitations as a result of psoriasis: “Indubitably, the positive effects of physical activity on the natural course of psoriasis should encourage sports practice also in subjects suffering from psoriatic arthritis. However, psoriatic arthritis is able to significantly limit the range of motion and physical activity habits due to joint pain and impairment. Therefore, a full medical consultation (especially with a rheumatologist) is strictly necessary.”
Sources: 1, 2
Image: Corpus Christi Soccer Academy

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