Link Between Psoriasis & Your Heart

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

A new study led by a dermatologist at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania ties psoriasis to a greater risk of having a heart attack!

About 2-percent of adults have psoriasis, which is an itchy and painful skin condition, that's actually an auto-immune disease.

Dr. Joel Gelfand says that immune response also raises the risk for heart problems, especially in younger patients with severe psoriasis. Dr. Joel Gelfand/HUP: "The immune system is also important for causing blockages in the arteries and leading to having a heart attack." Maria Marinari is one of Dr. Gelfand's patients. She's been dealing with psoriasis for four years- then, about a year and a half ago, she needed two stents placed in blocked heart arteries. Anita: "Did you have heart pain?" Maria: "Back, arms, yeah.... Pain."

Maria was shocked to hear about the heart/psoriasis connection. And while medication and light therapy have improved her skin, she's made lifestyle changes, too, to help her heart. Maria Marinari: "Stop smoking, that was the hardest thing to do. Its been 1 1/2 years since my heart condition and I haven't had a cigarette."

The new study, out Tuesday, in the Journal of the American Medical Association- found psoriasis to be an INDEPENDENT heart danger even if people DIDN'T have other risk factors like obesity, diabetes and smoking.

Dr. Gelfand says it should serve as early warning to people with this skin problem that they have to be extra-vigilant in protecting their hearts.

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