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Psoriasis Raises Risk of Heart Attack, Stroke, Death
Date:6/15/2009

Inflammation looks like common thread, researcher says

MONDAY, June 15 (HealthDay News) -- 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 percent higher incidence of heart disease, a 70 percent higher incidence of stroke and a 98 percent 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 percent higher than for those without the disease. In the 20 years covered by the study, 19.6 percent of those with psoriasis died, compared to 9.9 percent 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."

The risk appears to stem from the chronic inflammation associated with psoriasis, he explained. "This systemic inflammation causes damage to blood vessels, leading to increased risk," he said.

The medical lesson of the study is that "it is critical for people who have psoriasis to understand their increased risk and have their other risk factors addressed," he said.

Cardiovascular risk is linked to the severity of the skin disease, Kirsner said, and "there are some data suggesting that treating psoriasis can lowe
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