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Psoriasis May Be Indicator for Other Major Health Issues

Posted: June 22, 2009

People suffering for psoriasis can be at risk for other major health issues, such as cardiovasular disease, and it is important for skin care professionals to know these issues in order to impart the proper knowledge to clients.

People with psoriasis face an increased risk of major cardiovascular disease and death, a new study finds. The research, which included data from a Veterans Administration medical facility study to compare 3,236 people suffering from the skin disease to 2,500 psoriasis-free individuals, found a 78% higher incidence of heart disease, a 70% higher incidence of stroke and a 98% higher incidence of peripheral arterial disease (blockage of arteries in the legs) in the psoriasis group.

The overall death rate for those with psoriasis was 86% higher than for those without the disease. In the 20 years covered by the study, 19.6% of those with psoriasis died, compared to 9.9% of those without the disease.

The cardiovascular disease calculations included effects of known risk factors such as obesity, smoking, diabetes and high blood cholesterol, said study co-author Dr. Robert S. Kirsner, vice chairman of dermatology at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine. The team reports the finding in the June issue of the Archives of Dermatology.

"In and of itself, psoriasis imparts a risk of cardiac disease, stroke and peripheral arterial disease," Kirsner said. "Psoriasis imposes the same level of risk as high blood lipids and smoking."