Inflammation Outside In: The Psoriasis-Heart Link
Psoriasis, the chronic, auto-immune skin disease, has been linked to heart disease in a recent study. As it turns out, the inflammation caused by psoriasis is not always contained to the skin and can cause blood vessels to become inflamed as well.
Affecting 3% of the population, psoriasis is a common condition that can be managed but has no cure. Psoriasis sends faulty signals to the skin, which accelerate growth causing skin to mature quicker as well as accumulate. This process creates raised, dry, irritated skin patches that can occur anywhere. While most commonly only affecting the skin, it can trigger arthritis and recently has been found to impact artery walls leading to heart disease, stroke, or heart attack.
If you are one of the millions who suffer from psoriasis, treatments are available. Depending on the severity, your dermatologist may recommend topical, phototherapy, or systemic treatment. Mild to moderate cases are usually treated with topical ointments, and moderate to severe cases often benefit from phototherapy, where the affected skin is exposed to ultraviolet light. Systemic treatments are reserved for severe cases when a person’s quality of life is affected, and they are used if complications occur.
Managing your psoriasis now requires you to also manage your heart health, especially if you are already at risk for heart disease. You can lower your risk through diet, exercise, lifestyle changes, and regular screening. A heart-healthy diet includes whole grains, low fat dairy, lean protein, more fruits and vegetables, avoiding excess sodium from salt and heavily processed foods, and avoiding bad fats. Increasing omega-3 fatty acids is great for your heart and psoriasis; you can get more in your diet through fatty fish, walnuts, soy, leafy greens, and berries.
Exercise and relaxation are key elements in maintaining a healthy heart. Most doctors recommend 30 minutes of exercise five times a week. Furthermore, you should set aside time for fun and relaxation to combat stress.
Smoking is the leading cause of heart disease, so if you smoke and have psoriasis, you need to get help and quit as soon as possible. In addition, drinking in excess contributes to the risk of heart disease, and should, therefore, be done only in moderation.
Additionally, you should get yearly screenings and physicals to monitor your heart health and combat any concerns quickly.
February is American Heart Month, so don’t wait to start caring about the health of your heart. Dr. Shereen Timani at Johns Creek Dermatology is accepting new patients in the North Atlanta area, and she is specially qualified to help you manage your psoriasis and heart health. Many suffers of skin conditions become self-conscious, but Dr. Shereen Timani specializes in helping patients cope with the physical and emotional struggles related to various dermatological conditions.
Johns Creek Dermatology is conveniently located across from Emory Johns Creek Hospital on Hospital Parkway near the Peachtree Parkway (Highway 141) and McGinnis Ferry Road intersections. Contact Dr. Shereen Timani to start your path toward healthy living. Johns Creek Dermatology serves individuals from Gwinnett, South Forsyth, and North Fulton counties as well as the surrounding areas such as Suwanee, Alpharetta, Roswell, Canton, Duluth and Norcross.