Psoriasis skin inflammation treatments improve heart disease symptoms by blocking the immune system response that causes inflammation. It is estimated that 7.5 million Americans have psoriasis. Although it is a skin condition, the effects of psoriasis run deep. In fact, psoriasis is a known risk factor for heart disease.
Jashin J. Wu, director of dermatology research at the Kaiser Permanente Los Angeles Medical Center, said, “People with psoriasis, particularly those with more severe disease, have an increased risk for a variety of other health problems, including obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, stroke, and heart attack. Psoriasis patients, even those with mild disease, need to be aware of how this condition affects their overall health.”
The study suggests that treating psoriasis can help lower patients’ risk of cardiovascular disease by reducing the immune response that triggers inflammation on the skin and elsewhere in the body. Treatments for psoriasis include phototherapy, systemic medications such as acitretin, cyclosporine, and methotrexate, as well as biologics, which block the immune system responses fueling inflammation.
Despite the fact that psoriasis treatment may indeed help reduce the risk of cardiovascular complications, Dr. Wu suggests the link is still unclear and additional research is required to better understand the association between the two conditions.
Dr. Wu concluded, “Psoriasis is a serious medical condition that can have a detrimental effect on your overall health. If you have this disease, talk to a board-certified dermatologist to determine the best treatment option for you. Managing your psoriasis is not just about improving your skin — it’s about caring for your entire well-being.”
Psoriasis and the increased risk for cardiovascular diseases
Psoriasis is an autoimmune disease that causes skin inflammation. The risk of heart disease in psoriasis is three times greater, compared to people without the inflammatory skin condition. An autoimmune disease, psoriasis doesn’t only cause inflammation of the skin, but also inflammation in other parts of the body, including the arteries and the heart.
For example, psoriasis-induced inflammation can cause hardening of the arteries – arthrosclerosis – which interrupts blood blow through the arteries, limiting how much blood can go to and from the heart. This over time can lead to heart damage.
On the other hand, some psoriasis treatments have been shown to cause irregular cholesterol levels, which can lead to additional heart damage. Some studies have shown that psoriasis is linked to an irregular heartbeat, another indication of heart problems, concluding that psoriasis is a risk factor for heart arrhythmia.
Tips to manage heart disease
Tips to manage heart disease in psoriasis are similar to healthy heart habits that anyone should be following. These tips include:
- Eat a healthy and balanced diet with lean proteins, fruits, vegetables, and whole grains
- Exercise regularly
- Get proper sleep
- Reduce cholesterol
- Manage blood pressure and diabetes
- Reduce stress
- Get tested for any possible sleep disorders
- Lose weight
- Don’t smoke
- Minimize alcohol consumption
- Avoid processed foods
- Reduce salt intake
By following these heart health tips, you have a better chance of reducing your risk of heart disease, whether you have psoriasis or not.