Psoriasis Linked To Other Diseases

| Tue Jun. 16, 2009 7:05 PM EDT

My roommate Mike has psoriasis, which, according to WebMD, is "a reddish, scaly rash often located over the surfaces of the elbows, knees, scalp, and around or in the ears, navel, genitals or buttocks." Luckily, his case is mild (it's only on his elbows), and you can't really notice it unless he's playing basketball. But after reading about a new study that links psoriasis to heart disease and other serious health problems, I'm worried about him.

Yesterday, Forbes reported that "people with psoriasis face an increased risk of major cardiovascular disease and death." The research they discuss, which included data from a Veterans Administration medical facility study, compared 3,236 people suffering from the skin disease to 2,500 psoriasis-free individuals and found a 78 percent higher incidence of heart disease, a 70 percent higher incidence of stroke and a 98 percent higher incidence of peripheral arterial disease (blockage of arteries in the legs) in the psoriasis group."

Without trying to sound preachy, I hope that those of you out there with psoriasis take these new findings as a wake-up call to stop partaking in activities that will increase your risk of heart disease or stroke, because you are likely already more genetically predisposed to these problems. Mike and I have decided to boycott red meat for a while and we plan to choose workouts over continuing our Woody Allen marathon.

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