Approximately 7.5 million people in the United States have psoriasis, and the impact of this disease goes far beyond its visible effects on the skin.
“People with psoriasis, particularly those with more severe disease, have an increased risk for a variety of other health problems, including obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, stroke and heart attack,” says board-certified dermatologist Jashin J. Wu, MD, FAAD, director of dermatology research at the Kaiser Permanente Los Angeles Medical Center. “Psoriasis patients, even those with mild disease, need to be aware of how this condition affects their overall health.”
Psoriasis is a chronic inflammatory disease characterized in most patients by red, raised patches of skin, or plaques, covered with silvery-white scales. According to Dr. Wu, the inflammatory effects of this skin disease can impact the entire body, which may lead to cardiovascular problems.
Treating psoriasis may help improve cardiovascular symptoms by reducing skin inflammation, which in turn leads to less inflammation elsewhere in the body, Dr. Wu says. Treatment options for moderate to severe psoriasis include phototherapy; systemic medications such as acitretin, cyclosporine and methotrexate; and biologics, which block the immune system responses that fuel inflammation.
Read more at American Academy of Dermatology