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Dermatologists Caution That Severe Cases of Psoriasis Can Be Associated With Other Serious Medical Conditions
Date:3/5/2009

r than patients who do not have the disease.

"Patient education is critical in the early detection and management of these related conditions, many of which can be controlled with proper medical care," said Dr. Gelfand. To minimize the risk of developing associated medical conditions, Dr. Gelfand recommended that psoriasis patients lead a healthy lifestyle, avoid smoking, maintain an ideal body weight and get routine screenings for cardiovascular risk factors -- such as blood pressure and cholesterol checks.

"We need to educate psoriasis patients about the increased risk of cardiovascular disease so the prevention efforts can be instituted," explained Dr. Gelfand.

Experts in the dermatology and cardiology communities have issued consensus statements advocating that physicians educate patients with psoriasis -- particularly if the disease is severe -- about the potential association of psoriasis with other serious diseases, such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

Dr. Gelfand added that further research is needed to better determine how skin disease severity and activity affect the risk of developing these associated conditions and whether successful treatment of psoriasis alters the risks.

About Psoriasis

Psoriasis affects nearly 7 million Americans and can start at any age, although it most commonly starts in early adulthood (20s and 30s). Psoriasis has a genetic component, as approximately 40 percent of patients with psoriasis have a family history of the disease. While the exact cause of psoriasis is unknown, it is believed to occur due to an interaction of multiple genes, the immune system and the environment, according to Dr. Gelfand. The disease can be localized, affecting only the elbows or scalp, or can involve skin on the entire body.

To learn more about psoriasis, visit the PsoriasisNet section of

SOURCE American Academy of Dermatology
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