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Study Linking Increased Risk of Death to Severe Psoriasis a Call to Action
Date:12/19/2007

National Psoriasis Foundation urges psoriasis patients to take control of their health, help work for a cure

PORTLAND, Ore., Dec. 19 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- A study released this week showing that people with severe psoriasis are likely to have a shorter life expectancy should prompt them to take steps to improve their overall health, according to the National Psoriasis Foundation.

The study -- published in the Archives of Dermatology and conducted by Joel M. Gelfand, M.D., M.S.C.E., and colleagues at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine -- showed that risk of death increased by 50 percent among patients with severe psoriasis.

Men with severe psoriasis died an average of 3.5 years sooner than male patients without the disease, the study showed. Women died an average of 4.4 years earlier than women without the condition. Mild psoriasis did not show an association with an increased risk of death. The study, which tracked patients in the United Kingdom from 1987 to 2002, defined people as having severe psoriasis if they were using systemic treatments. The study was done before the systemic treatments known as biologics were available for psoriasis or a related condition, psoriatic arthritis. Today, biologics are widely used to treat moderate to severe psoriasis.

The researchers do not know why patients with severe psoriasis have an increased risk of death, said Dr. Gelfand, a member of the National Psoriasis Foundation Medical Board. More research is needed to determine if severe psoriasis is a direct cause of a shorter life span or if factors associated with severe psoriasis such as smoking, drinking, obesity or social isolation are the cause. Researchers also are looking to see if certain treatments affect life expectancy.

"In the meantime, patients suffering with severe psoriasis are encouraged to lead a healthy lifestyle and to see their physicians for preventative health screenings and treatments
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SOURCE National Psoriasis Foundation
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