Psoriasis Linked to Increased Risk of Stroke

With the recent televised diagnosis of Kim Kardashian’s  psoriasis, it seems more and more people are understanding what this skin condition is and media mentions of psoriasis have consequently skyrocketed.  A new Danish study however has revealed new information that many never even imagined – this skin condition appears to be tied to an increased risk of stroke and atrial fibrillation (a condition resulting in irregular heart beats).

More specifically, the study  concluded that patients with psoriasis run a risk for these conditions that is nearly 3 times higher than those without psoriasis.

It seems confusing that something which affects the body outwardly could have such a drastic impact internally but apparently significant research has proven that this is so.


Not Sure What Psoriasis is?
Essentially what may look like a rash is actually the skin’s cells rising to the surface too fast which in turn doesn’t allow older cells the chance to fall off. This backup of skin cells is what causes reddish blotches to appear on the skin. This condition is hereditary and can result from the body’s immune system sending off-base signals.


The Study
In order to come to this conclusion, researchers gathered information on the reported cases of atrial fibrillation and ischemic stroke (happens as a result of blood not being able to reach the brain) in the adult and adolescent population of Denmark. Of the 4.5 million people added to a national database between 1997 and 2006, nearly 36,700 patients were diagnosed with mild psoriasis during this time and about 2,800 had severe psoriasis.


The Connection Between Heart Problems and Psoriasis
While many of us without a medical background may find it difficult to understand how a skin condition could affect the heart or circulatory system, it makes sense when you learn the reason behind the link. In general as a group, people who develop psoriasis appear to have more cardiovascular risks, including high lipid levels and obesity. While of course that is not the case with all patients, it appears that in many patients factors like these are observed. Also, when a person has psoriasis, their body’s are on “high alert” and there is an overall increase in inflammation in the body. It’s this inflammation that has often been tied to these heart conditions.


So What Can We Take From This?
While those with psoriasis may be alarmed by the news from this study, it can also be looked at as very valuable information. Now that those in the medical field are beginning to understand the connection, new screening processes can begin. In the past, doctors may not have realized that these conditions were connected and therefore didn’t look for them proactively. Now patients and doctors alike will know that they have extra reason to look after and monitor their cardiovascular health.

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