Some important health news for psoriasis sufferers has just hit. They face higher-than-average risk of death after a heart attack. Since the best health advice is to prevent problems, psoriasis patients have greater incentive to protect their hearts.
The study found that heart attack patients with psoriasis are 26% more likely to die from heart disease or suffer from another heart attack or strokes. They are also 18% more likely to die from all causes than those without psoriasis.
This came from a study on 50,000 patients (462 of whom had psoriasis) who had experienced their first heart attack between 2002 and 2006. Researchers found that the patients with psoriasis had higher all-cause and specific death rates — and that this shows the need for greater prevention of heart disease in this group.
About 125 million people around the world have psoriasis, which is an inflammatory skin condition. In skin cells, it is marked by a build-up of psoriatic plaque. Heart attacks are also caused by a build-up of plaque — in the arteries leading to the heart. Here are some key facts from the study:
- The incidence rates per 1,000 patient years for all-cause deaths were 16% higher for those with psoriasis.
- The same measure for deaths due to heart problems were 24% higher for those with psoriasis.
- Patients with psoriasis had a higher rate of hospitalization for angina (severe chest pain). Also, more psoriasis patients needed to receive medication as treatment.
- There was no explanation why patients with psoriasis who survived their first heart attack had a poorer prognosis for the future.
This may be the first study to look at how psoriasis patients fare compared to others following a heart attack. And the news isn’t so great: they have a far greater risk of suffering more heart events down the road. And a significantly increased risk of death.
A recipe for heart health: exercise every day and keep a diet rich in fruits, vegetables and fish.