Eczema is the marker for Cardiovascular Health Risk Factors: How to FIGHT IT!?
We know that Eczema is correlated with sleep disturbances to those with moderate-to-severe conditions. Did you also know that Eczema combined with lack of sleep causes a higher risk of cardiovascular disease?
Surprisingly, a US study has shown that Adults with Eczema are more likely to smoke and drink in moderate & heavy amounts (Silverberg & Greenland, 2015). Similar behavioral results was found among those with psoriasis which may suggest it relates to inflammatory skin diseases.
To make matters worse, those with Eczema have lower frequency of vigorous activity compared to those with no history of Eczema (p. 721). MY BIG GUESS besides lack of sleep, energy and itching is that most of us are afraid of SWEAT, one of the potential triggers of eczema flare-ups. All of these often results to lower quality of life and living the sedentary lifestyle which leads to unhealthy behaviors.
Technologies such as iPhones, androids, tablets (iPad, Samsung galaxy) and game systems (Nintendo, X-box, PlayStation) have such a huge impact in our sedentary lifestyle along with the office work environment where prolonged sitting of 6 hours or more in a day is now a new KILLER.
You will find recent studies & news of increased risk of certain cancers from sitting, even if you are active. However there is a known fact that exercise can decrease some cancers up to 50%.
Smoking, Alcohol & Sedentary lifestyle are modifiable risk factors, meaning you can change these! Any lifestyle change can be quite difficult as it has been for me, although I never have smoked in my life. I occasional drink socially but not very often.
What we need to do is to go beyond the creams and lotions to manage eczema. The simple answer is focusing on exercise and having a healthy diet.
Exercise will help reduce depression, anxiety, and stress, improved sleep, physical & emotional well-being while reducing eczema flare-ups! If it has worked for me, it can definitely WORK for you!!
I have done low to high intensity workouts such as tabata, kickboxing, light jogging, SkyRobics and even ran a little marathon under heat with a lot of sweat, so I can say that it is POSSIBLE!!
Eating healthier foods can manage weight and also has significant effect on cardiovascular health BUT when combined with exercise it is even better!
Some studies have shown the association between children with Eczema and obesity, or those with a higher body mass index (BMI). Meaning the heavier the child weighted the more frequency of eczema flare-ups. However, in adults it is questionable (p. 721).
I remember doing a research paper of the effects of exercise on eczema two years ago, and I found that exercise (aerobic and strength training) can help reduce eczema. Even though there is limited research on this topic, it was related to sedentary lifestyle and obesity/adipose (fat) in our body(weight gain).
Now when we talk about weight, am talking mainly fat… NOT THE MUSCLES! If you are active you may appear heavier due to the fact that muscles weight more than fat which is A GOOD THING!!
WHAT HAPPENS WHEN WE EXERCISE OR NOT?
When we have lower frequency in physical activity, it leads to undesired weight gain (due to lower basal metabolic rate from lack of exercise) which results to cardiovascular health problems such as obesity, hypertension, diabetes and high cholesterol and possible re-occurrence of eczema.
There is an even higher risk for those of us who have sleeping problems (fatigue, daytime sleepiness, insomnia) especially in those who have Eczema (p. 723). It is a bit of a scary thought, so I really hope to encourage you all to move to improve.
When one loses the majority of the fat as a result from exercise, there will be physiological changes in the body that stops producing eczema stimulating cytokines, therefore reducing flare-ups. I can say that I am living proof of that before knowing all these studies existed.
Research has shown that that endurance (aerobic) training will have have a positive effect, regardless if you lose weight or not (Berglind, Alderling, & Meding, 2011). This helps prevent many cardiovascular diseases!
Overall, exercise can improve cardiovascular health, sleep and eczema!