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Serious Health Conditions Linked to Psoriasis

Posted: March 10, 2009

Psoriasis, a condition commonly seen by skin care professionals, has been shown in research to have a link to more serious health problems.

On the surface, the thick, red, scaly, itchy plaques of psoriasis, which have been shown to have a significant negative impact on a person’s overall quality of life, may not appear to pose a serious health risk for patients. However, a growing body of research suggests that psoriasis patients are at an increased risk of developing serious medical conditions, including cardiovascular disease and diabetes, particularly when their psoriasis is severe.

Speaking at the 67th Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Dermatology, dermatologist Joel M. Gelfand, MD, MSCE, FAAD, assistant professor of dermatology at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine in Philadelphia, spoke about this complex skin condition and its relationship to other serious medical conditions.

Dr. Gelfand explained that for the last two decades, research has shown that excessive inflammation is a critical feature of psoriasis. This discovery has led to innovative approaches to treating psoriasis, with therapies targeting selected areas of the immune system that are overactive in psoriasis patients.

Excess inflammation also is present in other common conditions, such as hardening of the arteries, heart attacks, stroke, obesity and diabetes, which may explain why some psoriasis patients may be at an increased risk for developing these other serious conditions.