DPsoriasis is more than just a skin condition; it can have other serious ramications. Read on...
octors have known for years that psoriasis is more than skin deep: Past studies have associated the inflammatory disease with a host of chronic medical problems, including cardiovascular disease. Psoriasis is a painful, sometimes disfiguring, condition that can cause a buildup of dead skin cells and dry, itchy red patches. A lifelong condition, psoriasis is considered an autoimmune disorder because it’s caused by overactivity in the immune system. This inflames the skin and is also associated with increased blood levels of C-reactive protein – a marker of systemwide inflammation. Systemic inflammation has been connected to a variety of medical problems, including insulin resistance and atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries). A new analysis in ‘JAMA Dermatology’ takes the association between psoriasis and systemic inflammation a step further. Researchers measured the severity of psoriasis in more than 9,000 patients, aged 25 to 64, along with the presence and severity of their coexisting illnesses, or medical comorbidities. They
found that the more severe their psoriasis, the more likely patients were to have comorbidities. The researchers determined the severity of psoriasis by the size of the skin areas affected; more than 10% was considered severe; 3 to 10%, moderate; and less than 2%, mild. Overall, researchers concluded that the risk associated with having a serious illness in addition to psoriasis was: ✦ 11% in mild psoriasis patients. ✦ 15% in moderate psoriasis patients. ✦ 35% in severe psoriasis patients. But those numbers don’t tell the entire story. When broken down into specific diseases, some percentages rise. For instance, people with severe psoriasis have an 81% increased risk of developing cardiovascular disease and a 32% increased risk of diabetes. Comorbidities most commonly associated with psoriasis in the study included: ✦ Other rheumatologic diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis. ✦ Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. ✦ Heart attack. ✦ Peripheral vascular disease. ✦ Type 2 diabetes.