Psoriasis raises heart disease risk
People with severe forms psoriasis are more likely to die of heart-related causes and stroke than those without the condition.
In psoriasis, cells build up on the skin surface and form itchy and sometimes painful scales and red patches. Joint inflammation may also occur. Up to one in 25 adults have psoriasis, and about one in five of those have severe disease that warrants treatment with powerful inflammation-suppressing drugs like methotrexate. Because such drugs carry a high risk of side effects, most people with severe psoriasis actually go untreated.
To investigate if psoriasis is a risk factor for heart disease, researchers matched 3,603 patients with severe psoriasis to 14,330 people who were free from the disease and followed them for about three years, on average. Three percent (108 patients) of those with severe psoriasis died of heart- or stroke-related causes, compared with about two percent (301 patients) of those without psoriasis.
It was found that people with severe psoriasis were nearly 60 percent more likely to die of causes related to heart disease or stroke than those without the disease. Even when the researchers took factors like smoking, high blood pressure, and diabetes into consideration, the psoriasis patients' risk of death due to these causes was still 57 percent higher, suggesting that the skin disease itself was responsible for this .
These findings show that patients with severe psoriasis have a higher risk of death due to heart disease or stroke.
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