08 August 2013

Psoriasis increases risk for other conditions

People with the skin disease psoriasis may be at increased risk for other major health problems, according to a new study.


People with the skin disease psoriasis may be at increased risk for other major health problems, according to a new study.

The link between psoriasis, which is characterised by irritated, red patches of skin, and other medical conditions has been unclear. In this study, published online 7 August in the journal JAMA Dermatology, researchers analyzed data from more than 9 000 British psoriasis patients, aged 25 to 64. They compared them with more than 90 000 age-matched people without psoriasis.

Among the psoriasis patients, the disease was mild in nearly 52%, moderate in nearly 36% and severe in about 12%.

The analysis revealed that people with psoriasis had higher rates of chronic lung disease, diabetes, mild liver disease, heart attack, peptic ulcer, peripheral vascular disease, kidney disease and rheumatologic disease.

The risk of having these types of health problems increased with the severity of psoriasis, said Howa Yeung, of the University of Pennsylvania, and colleagues.

"Physicians should be aware of these associations in providing comprehensive care to patients with psoriasis, especially those presenting with more severe disease," Yeung and colleagues concluded in a journal news release.

Although the study found an association between having psoriasis and increased risk of other diseases, it did not prove a cause-and-effect relationship.

More information

The American Academy of Family Physicians has more about psoriasis.

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Dr Suretha Kannenberg holds a degree in Medicine and a Masters in Dermatology from the University of Stellenbosch. She is employed as a consultant dermatologist by Stellenbosch University and Tygerberg Academic Hospital, where she is involved in clinical duties and the training of medical students and dermatology residents. Her areas of interest and research include vitiligo, eczema and acne. She also performs limited private practice work in the Northern suburbs of Cape Town in general and cosmetic dermatology.

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