Psoriasis is an autoimmune disease that 7.5 million Americans have, characterized by thick, red, scaly and itchy plaques and patches that come in waves of severity. Along with and embarrassing and uncomfortable chronic disorder, comes an increased risk of a number of serious medical conditions.
Recently, researchers tracked rates of psoriasis, heart disease, stroke and death in the entire adolescent and adult population of Denmark between 1997 and 2006 and revealed some startling results.
People with severe psoriasis were 54 percent more likely to suffer a stroke, 53 percent more likely to die over a 10-year period and 21 percent more likely to have a heart attack than those without the disorder. The analysis recorded risk factors for heart disease, age, sex, medication and other health conditions and took into consideration the implications they could have on their results.
Another study, performed in America, was presented at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Dermatology, which showed a significant increase of cancer for those suffering from psoriasis. Over a two-and-one-half years period, there was a 56 percent higher chance for someone with psoriasis to develop skin cancer and a 75 percent higher risk for skin cancer. People with psoriasis were also more likely to be obese and have high cholesterol and blood pressure.
Many more studies have been performed to duplicate results and reaffirm the findings that psoriasis can become a catalyst for other very severe diseases. Psoriasis is not contagious, but some experts believe it could be a hereditary disease that runs in the family. What’s happening is, a type of white blood cells begin to create antibodies which destroy normal cells, and in response, another type of white blood cell begin to overproduce a type of protein. This overproduction turns off a signal that controls the growth of cells, so the body begins to produce skin cells on top of itself. There isn’t a cure, but remedies and medications that can alleviate outbreaks significantly and reign in some uncomfortable flaking.