Recent research by the American College of Cardiology in Atlanta has shown that people living with psoriasis are more likely to suffer cardiovascular diseases, such as heart attacks and strokes.
Psoriasis is a chronic inflammatory skin disease that causes apparent lesions on the body.
Scientists believe that the social isolation that results from it helps explain why hypertension, diabetes, overweight, and obesity are higher among psoriasis patients than the general population.
And yet, even among groups of people with psoriasis who live a healthy lifestyle, the incidence of these problems is higher.
Why Can Psoriasis Cause Heart Problems?
Psoriasis was once considered only a skin disease, but to its systemic character, it can also be associated with cardiovascular diseases.
One of them is the so-called metabolic syndrome, composed of the dangerous trio hypertension, diabetes, and obesity.
Psoriasis symptoms cause chronic inflammation that affects several parts of the body, this representes a risk factor for heart attack and strokes.
In addition to red, flaking lesions on the scalp, elbows, and knees, they can also appear on the feet, hands, nails, and genital area.
The extent of psoriasis ranges from small, localized lesions to involvement of the entire skin.
Moreover, it can affect essential molecules that favor clogged blood vessels and insulin resistance.
These inflammatory molecules stimulate fat storage in the cells.
And they increase blood pressure, which influences the risk of clogged veins.
This increases the risk of a heart attack or stroke.
If psoriasis lesions reach the heart valves, certain microbes cause bacterial endocarditis, and infection like that can be fatal.
Why Should You Pay Close Attention to This
Despite a real and relatively high risk, cardiovascular complications in patients with psoriasis are still underestimated and not always properly managed.
That is why it is necessary to consult healthcare professionals who will assist you throughout your treatment.
The dermatologist and the cardiologist will be your privileged contacts, along with your treating physician and all the other healthcare professionals.
Treatment will be multidisciplinary, with each professional providing you with appropriate treatments to target all symptoms and pathology.
Having severe psoriasis requires extra vigilance to prevent possible cardiovascular events.
Don’t worry too much. Just maintain a healthy lifestyle and follow the instructions and prescriptions of your healthcare professionals.
Why Maintaining a Healthy Lifestyle is Important?
Overweight combined with psoriasis can increase the risk of stroke or myocardial infarction.
It is therefore important to maintain a balanced diet and regular physical activity.
This can include daily activities such as walking, gardening, dancing, housework, or any other activity that avoids being sedentary.
Moreover, physical activity can prevent depression. The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends at least 2.5 hours of moderate-intensity physical activity each week, in 10-minute increments, or 1.5 hours of sustained intensity, both of which can be modulated.
However, be sure to adapt your activity’s intensity according to your abilities and how you feel, especially if you have any pain.
If in doubt, do not hesitate to consult your dermatologist.
Links between psoriasis and obesity have been established, mainly due to changes in eating habits between the 1970s and 2000, characterized by more fatty, sugary, and calorie-rich foods.
Obesity predisposes patients to psoriasis and amplifies the inflammation associated with this disease.
Overweight or obese patients should consider a diet under the supervision of a health professional.
How Can You Prevent This?
Psoriasis can cause serious health damage that can affect your heart, therefore, is it important to:
- Avoid excessive sun exposure, sunburn damages the skin and can trigger a new outbreaks
- Prevent viral infections such as the flu virus, which can lead to the onset of psoriasis due to the vulnerability of the immune system
- Stay away from stressful situations, such as family conflicts, overwork, and sudden routine changes
- Avoid drugs, alcohol and cigarettes;
- Try to avoid cold weather whenever possible, psoriasis tends to worsen with it
- Stay away from physical or emotional trauma
- Refrain from taking medications such as antimalarials, lithium-containing drugs, beta-blockers, and some non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs
- Have a good diet, investing in the consumption of orange-colored foods and foods rich in omega 3
Psoriasis and metabolic syndromes (risk factors for heart disease, diabetes, and other health problems) can easily walk hand in hand in many patients.
It is important to prevent and check for early detection of these co-morbidities.
Crucial intervention can be decisive if the time is right in their prevention and control.