of studies, published recently, have been reported on in the popular media,
stating that if you have psoriasis, you are more likely to have high blood
pressure, develop heart disease, and have a heart attack or stroke.
does look as though there is some sort of a connection between severe psoriasis
and certain heart conditions, much more research needs to be carried out to
help us understand this better. Firstly, there are many factors that could lead
to someone having a heart condition (family history, being overweight, history
of smoking, other underlying conditions) that they may have in addition to
psoriasis. This does not necessarily mean that their psoriasis would have
anything to do with their heart condition. Secondly, the presence of a link
between the conditions does not mean that psoriasis is an independent risk
factor (ie. it actively causes or contributes) to heart disease. It could
instead mean that the conditions share some of the same risk factors, and
therefore can occur in the same people.
on this topic is ongoing, most notably the IMPACT project based at Manchester
University, which is looking into the potential co-morbidities (related
conditions) of mild to moderate psoriasis. This is a multi-million pound study,
that the Psoriasis Association is involved in directing.
National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) guideline on the
assessment and management of psoriasis (CG 153) recommends that doctors should
discuss cardiovascular risk factors with all people who have psoriasis, and
support any lifestyle changes (such as weight loss, quitting smoking ,etc) that
might be needed. It also recommends that people with severe psoriasis should be
offered a cardiovascular risk assessment every five years.
thing to do is to take control of the risk factors we know for sure about; make
efforts to eat a healthy, balanced diet and to keep active, try to give up
smoking and to moderate alcohol intake. Visit the British Heart Foundation
website for more information on how to keep your heart healthy.