Psoriasis Linked to Strokes, Death

People with psoriasis, a common scaly skin condition, are at increased risk for strokes, heart disease, and circulatory problems in the legs, new research shows.

Separate from these factors, people with psoriasis are likely to die before people without the condition.

Dr. Robert S. Kirsner, from the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, told Reuters Health that this study is the first to show an association between psoriasis and vascular disease.

The findings, reported in the Archives of Dermatology, stem from a study of 3236 patients with psoriasis and 2500 subjects without the skin condition.

Consistent with prior research, the authors found that diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and smoking were all more common in the psoriasis group. After accounting for these factors, psoriasis was linked to heart disease, strokes, and blood vessel disease in the legs.

One interesting finding, Kirsner added, was that "even after controlling for vascular disease, patients with psoriasis appear to have an increased risk of death — possibly from things like cancer."

On final analysis, subjects with psoriasis were 86 percent more likely to die during follow-up than were comparison subjects, the report indicates.

"It is not yet clear if treating psoriasis reduces the likelihood of developing vascular disease but preliminary studies suggest it might," Kirsner said.