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    Wednesday, October 11, 2006

    Heartbreak of Psoriasis: Does psoriasis cause heart attacks?

    Severe forms of the itchy skin condition, psoriasis, should be considered a risk factor for heart attack, a new study suggests. Researchers who studied medical records for more than 680,000 British patients found that people in their 40s with severe psoriasis were more than twice as likely to suffer a heart attack than people without the skin disease.

    ...Based on their findings, the researchers predict that 1 out of 623 people with severe psoriasis in their 40s will have a heart attack related to their psoriasis each year, Gelfand said. For mild cases, 1 in 3,646 people in their 40s would have a heart attack each year.

    Those are the first and last paragraphs of the newspaper article. Here's a caveat from the center:

    People with psoriasis are more likely to smoke and to have diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol. But the researchers found that even when they took those risk factors into account, psoriasis still increased the risk of heart attack.

    ....Dr. William Weintraub, a cardiologist and research director at Christiana Care Health System in Newark, Del., questioned the study's importance for patients.

    "Severe psoriasis is relatively uncommon, and the risk for heart attack with mild psoriasis is relatively minor," said Weintraub, who was not involved in the study.

    The study defined severe psoriasis as any case that required the use of oral medication for the disease. Mild psoriasis was defined as those cases only requiring topical medications. That's not an extremely stringent definition. Some people with mild psoriasis opt for systemic therapy because they can't stand their disease while others with severe psoriasis forego it because they fear the side effects. And how do they know the difference in heart attack rates isn't due to the treatment, rather than the disease? At any rate, the differences in heart attack rates was not that impressive between groups, whether or not they had any sort of psoriasis:

    There were 11 194 MIs (2.0%) within the control population and 2319 (1.8%) and 112 (2.9%) MIs within the mild and severe psoriasis groups, respectively.

    Dr. Weintraub is right. The significance is questionable.

    posted by Sydney on 10/11/2006 07:05:00 AM 0 comments


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